SPAE PRESS RELEASE - GOVERNMENT HOUSE BUILDING PROPOSALS - September 2020

In August the UK Government published proposals to overhaul the planning system with the aim of speeding up development and building more new homes.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said “These once in a generation reforms will lay the foundations for a brighter future, providing more homes for young people & creating better quality neighbourhoods and homes across the country. We will cut red tape, but not standards, placing a higher regard on quality, design and the environment than before. Planning decisions will be simple & transparent, with local democracy at the heart of the process.”

Most of the attention has centred around the proposed streamlining of the planning process but also announced were new targets for new house building based on a different method of calculating the need. The government intends to set a target of 330,000 new homes to be built each year compared with the current target of 270,000. SPAE is concerned about the possible implications of this because developers currently fall well short of the current target. It is well known in corporate life that if performance to a specific metric is falling considerably short of target the last thing to do is to INCREASE the target and make it HARDER to achieve. We believe that one likely consequence will be for the undesirable feature of so called “landbanking” to increase – where developers sit on land that they have acquired in the hope of achieving higher prices further downstream.

The table below gives an illustration on our local area. You can see clearly not only that the targets have been considerably increased but RBWM and Bracknell Forest have failed to meet the current targets over the last five years by some margin.

Area

Planning Authority

Average Delivery (last 3-years)

Current Standard Method

Proposed New Standard Method

Increase / Decrease

Berkshire

Bracknell Forest

536

614

805

131%

Berkshire

Reading

776

649

700

108%

Berkshire

Slough

635

863

597

69%

Berkshire

West Berkshire

513

513

692

135%

Berkshire

Windsor and Maidenhead

584

754

914

121%

Berkshire

Wokingham

1,231

789

1,635

207%

Source: Lichfields https://lichfields.uk/grow-renew-protect-planning-for-the-future/how-many-homes-the-new-standard-method?national-blog

 

 

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SPAE, the Society for the Protection of Ascot and Environment, campaigns against too much development in the Ascot area. Too many luxury flats being built ? Too many trees being cut down ? Do something about it -  join SPAE. SPAE has been heavily involved in preparation of the Ascot & Sunnings Neighbourhood Plan. Full details are at www.spae.org or call SPAE chairman, Patrick Griffin  on 01344 620375.

CELEBRATING GOOD DESIGN IN OUR AREA | The general public in this area know of the Society for the Protection of Ascot & Environs (SPAE) mainly because we object to planning applications and appeals – but as our members understand we are not against all development.   Far from it – and from 2016 we intend to be more visible in a different and very positive way.

We are launching an annual Award – called the Good Design Award - to promote, encourage, and celebrate excellence in building design in our area. A wide variety of buildings will be eligible from new builds to conversions or extensions, private dwellings or commercial, industrial or farm buildings, as long as they have been built within the area that SPAE covers – Ascot, Sunningdale, Sunninghill and Winkfield.

We believe that the Award scheme will help us to achieve some very worthwhile aims:

 

  • Recognising buildings which respect and enhance the special character of the area;
  • Generating better understanding of Neighbourhood Plan policies and the important role they play.

We feel very fortunate to have gained the support of the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, as well as other local organisations such as the Ascot, Sunninghill and Sunningdale Neighbourhood Plan Delivery Group. The Award will be launched at the SPAE AGM in May 2016 when we will announce the names of the members of the judging panel, which includes some very prestigious architects and other professionals, and also provide more details about how the scheme will operate.

The first applications will be invited from November 2016 and we anticipate making the first awards at next year’s AGM.  There will be a plaque or small trophy for the winner/s and a certificate for the runner-up but the real honour comes from being recognised by a panel of peers. We hope that the community as a whole – as well as our Members - will support us in this positive and exciting new initiative.