New prime minister urged to take ‘radical’ action to boost housebuilding stock

Britain’s new prime minister will be revealed this morning, with Liz Truss & Rishi Sunak vying for the coveted Tory leadership.

Both Truss and Sunak will be hoping to replace Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street, but as things stand, Truss is ahead in the polls.

The results of the Conservative Party leadership contest will be announced at around 11:30am.

Both candidates have promised serious action to solve the UK’s current cost of living crisis, but they must also act to fix the housing crisis, starting with the housebuilding sector – and the delivery of significantly more new homes, according to Boyer, part of Leaders Romans Group.

On the assumption that Truss will be announced as the new PM, Boyer has put together some comment based on probably her most telling comment in relation to planning and development – as quoted in the Express, she will apparently “rip up red tape that’s holding back housebuilding and give more power to local communities”.

Is this the first step in some radical changes in planning and development? Or is it an empty slogan, doomed to failure? Here are the views of directors at Boyer and Leaders Romans Group regarding the direction in which Truss is likely to take planning policy.

Ananya Banerjee, director and head of design at Boyer, said: “Liz Truss is stepping into some very big shoes at a time when many people are crying out for change and the housing crisis is impacting on a wider and wider demographic. She’s clearly aware that housing is, and has always been, a political football but I’m not convinced that she has the solution.

“One potential solution was Robert Jenrick’s proposals (the 2020 Planning White Paper). These were good steps forward, but they failed politically.”

Banerjee continued: “We need something as radical as this – such as the return of the National Infrastructure Committee for an ‘infrastructure first’ approach. We may be in a recession within a year’s time. We need to invest tax payers’ money in well thought out national infrastructure including energy, highways and better cycling network.”

Regarding Truss’ statement that she plans on “ripping up red tape and giving more power to communities”, Grant Leggett, director and head of Boyer’s London office, said: “ ‘Rip up red tape that’s holding back housebuilding and give more power to local communities’  – that’s about as big an oxymoron as you’ll read anywhere.  10/10 political-speak. Up there with literally ripping up policy by introducing a NPPF in 2012 but at the same time creating multiple new strictures through Localism.

“This sound-bite-ism and nothing new. Indeed, this sort of rhetoric and the great planning White Paper of 2020 sought to do just this, but was arguably the beginning of the previous PM’s downfall.”

Matt Clarke, director and head of Boyer’s Colchester office, added: “Truss’s statement contains an inherent conflict/contradiction that seems unworkable in practice. I would agree that making the process less “political” at the point of making decisions – whether on applications or at a plan-making level – may therefore be the answer, although it would no doubt be seen as a threat to the democratic process.  In which case the answer has to lie in ensuring that penalties for perverse or delayed decisions or Local Plans are sufficiently robust (others have mentioned the appeals “costs claim” regime, but other sanctions such as removal of planning powers – as with Uttlesford recently – may need to be more readily taken, particularly in Green Belt locations where application of the “Presumption” is effectively nullified).  But making planning less political will not be popular politically.”





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