20 May, 2011

‘These are the most important planning proposals since WWII – it is vital we get them right’

HBF today welcomed the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Practitioners Advisory Group recommendations to Government, but stressed the vital importance of ensuring the final Government document reflects the scale of the housing crisis with which we are faced.

The country is experiencing an acute housing shortage, with house-building at its lowest level for 90 years, first-time buyers at record low numbers and five million people languishing on social housing waiting lists. On top of this, healthy housing supply is critical to an efficient and prosperous economy, while house building is one of our biggest domestic employers.  

To start to tackle the housing crisis and drive economic recovery across the country the planning system needs to become truly pro-growth.

These recommendations make a considerable contribution, on which Government can build as it finalises its own draft NPPF for consultation in July.

For the NPPF to succeed, it is crucial that the definition of ‘sustainable development’ reflects the huge economic benefits of housing provision, as well as the vital social role housing plays for children, families and older generations.

While it is important for local people to be empowered, alongside their elected representatives, the National Planning Policy Framework must make clear that the viability of new housing is a critical consideration in the planning process.

Further clarity is required as to how planning decisions that span local authority boundaries will be governed. A strong duty to co-operate is needed so that planning authorities fully accept their housing responsibilities – especially in thriving areas that are constrained by tight urban boundaries.

Speaking today, Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of HBF said;

“The NPPF will be the most important planning document since the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 and it is vital that that Government gets it right.

“If Government is serious about tackling our housing crisis, now is the time to prove it.  It needs to deliver a planning system that creates real economic growth alongside the homes our country desperately needs.”

“At the centre of the new NPPF must be the social and economic benefits of development, the hundreds of thousands of jobs created and the families, young and old, provided with a roof over their heads.

- ENDS   -

For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact Steve Turner on 020 7960 1606 / 07919 307 760 or

Notes to editors

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales. The HBF’s 300 member firms account for some 80% of all new homes built in England and Wales in any one year, and include companies of all sizes, ranging from multi-national, household names through regionally based businesses to small local companies: The NPPF Practitioners Advisory Group consists of John Rhodes, Director of planning consultants Quod; Peter Andrew, Director of Land and Planning at Taylor Wimpey plc; Simon Marsh, Acting Head of Sustainable Development at the RSPB; Councillor Gary Porter, Leader of South Holland DC and Chairman of the Environment and Housing Programme Board at the Local Government Association. The four experts from planning, local government, house-building and the environment sectors were invited by the Minister for Decentralisation, Rt. Hon Greg Clark MP, to provide a practitioners’ perspective on how national planning policy could be simplified. Full details of the document can be found via DCLG will not be publishing a draft NPPF for consultation until July, probably close to the parliamentary Summer Recess (19th July). DCLG's consultation NPPF in July may or may not reflect thinking in the Advisory Group's document. That will depend very much on reaction to the Advisory Group's document.