Select Committee Investigation into the operation of the NPPF

The Communities and Local Government Select Committee is expected to open an investigation into the practical effects of the NPPF spring next year and report after the summer recess. Committee chair Clive Betts said terms of reference had yet to be determined but topics are likely to include: greenfield construction, housing supply levels, out-of-town development, the success of "town-centre first" policies, and new energy developments.

Housing starts climb back to pre-crash levels

Latest statistics reveal that the last 3 months have seen the fastest rate of house building since the crash in 2008. Housing starts over the last 12 months increased by 16% compared with the year before, rising from 101,280 to 117,110, and the 32,230 homes started between July and September this year represent the fastest rate of house building since 2008.

Labour’s new town housing strategy

Emma Reynolds, Labour’s shadow housing minister, has announced that the party’s new housing commission will be launched in the next few weeks led by former BBC Trust chairman and local government finance expert Sir Michael Lyons. The commission will devise the party’s strategy for the delivery of 200,000 homes a year by 2020. Included within the strategy will be the delivery of new towns and garden cities. Reynolds stated

"This is a personal passion of mine. I simply don't think we will reach volume or quality that we need unless we look at this seriously."

She added: "We know this is a big challenge. But we are determined that new towns and garden cities should be the model to look at for how we go forward."

London housing battlefield

A poll of London councillors by YouGov over the last 12 months has found that the delivery of more housing has become an increasing priority in the run up to next year’s local elections (held every four years). Just over a third of Conservative councillors thought affordable housing was the key issue, whilst 78% of Labour councillors thought it was. Conservative councillors seem to be coming around to the conversion of offices to residential as opposition to the proposals has decreased from 78% to 66% of councillors.