A blog about planning, planning law and planning policy


The information on this blog is not intended to be advice, legal or otherwise. You should not rely on it and I do not accept liability in connection with it. If you do have a planning law question on which you would like advice, seek legal advice from a suitably qualified solicitor. Specific advice should be sought for specific problems.

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Submission to Sir Michael Lyons Housing Review


This is the review set up by the Labour party when Ed Miliband announced they proposed to introduce a “Use it or Lose it” provision to counter hoarding of development land. Brock Consulting’s response to the call for evidence has gone in and can be found here.

Strangely, the call for evidence opens with […]

Who should take the strategic decisions?

I chaired the White Paper Conference Company’s planning conference on Wednesday when we were privileged to hear from a number of high profile and experienced speakers, including Steve Quartermain, Chief Planner at DCLG. But perhaps the issue with the greatest challenge was revealed in the last paper, from Catriona Riddell. The question she had been […]

Hilary Benn – “local communities should decide”

A somewhat surprising alliance between the Daily Telegraph and Labour’s shadow secretary for Communities and Local Government – Hilary Benn – has emerged this morning, with an article by Hilary Benn headlined “The Coalition have got it wrong over planning”.

So let us recall what the Coalition (or rather the Conservative policies adopted by […]

Extending the scope of the Infrastructure Planning System

When the Planning Act 2008 was in preparation, it was always envisaged that it could be extended to other forms of development. Well the ministerial statement last week specifically contemplates that to speed up the system. Eric Pickles said:

“…we now intend to review the thresholds for some of the existing categories in the regime, […]

NPPF published

So the NPPF was finally issued yesterday. At 59 pages, even the most hardened critic must welcome it. At last we can say goodbye to the pages of repetition of law and policy in the old PPS series. There is a helpful and explicit list of what has been abolished at the end, beginning with […]

Neighbourhood planning – Wave 5

With the headline ” New planning powers continue to be a hit with local communities”, DCLG has announced that Wave 5, a further 108 communities, have joined the 125 front runners using the new neighbourhood planning powers in the Localism Act 2011. This is a link to the map showing where they are. It has […]

Development plans

The foundations for a new approach to development are claimed to have been laid in 2011, with the introduction of neighbourhood planning by the Localism Act. So it was interesting, when I was tidying up some papers and books in my office yesterday, to come across “Development Plans – a manual on form and content” […]

Treasury man becomes the lead planning civil servant at DCLG

Peter Schofield has been appointed Director-General for Neighbourhoods at DCLG, with responsibility for housing and planning. He moves from the Treasury where he led the Enterprise and Growth Unit. His new Permanent Secretary, said “He will be met by a full in-tray, as we look to him to drive forward key reforms in housing, planning […]

Government must make significant changes to improve draft Planning Framework say MPs

The Commons Committee report on the draft NPPF is out today. The interest is mainly going to be on what is said about the presumption in favour of sustainable development. Let’s start at the Committee website.

It opens saying that the default answer of ‘yes’ to development should be removed (and predictably, that is the […]

Laying the Foundations: A Housing Strategy for England

The Government launched this strategy today, part of its proposals to stimulate growth, recognising the role played by new housing. I met with some architects last week and as we discussed the Government’s Plan for Growth, they practically fell about laughing when I took them through the policy of giving greater power to local communities […]