UKGBC Responds to Raynsford Review of Planning Reform

The UK Green Building Council has responded to the Raynsford Review of Planning in England, published on Tuesday 20 November 2018.

The Raynsford Review, led by a task force chaired by former planning minister Nick Raynsford, was set up in spring 2017 to look at government reforming the English planning system to make it fairer, better resourced and capable of producing quality outcomes as well as new homes.

The Review’s final report states that while planning has a huge potential to make people’s lives better this opportunity has been undermined by deregulation. It urges the government to immediately restrict permitted development, which allows the conversion of commercial buildings to housing units without any proper safeguards on quality.

UKGBC’s Director of Policy and Places, John Alker

John Alker, Director of Policy and Places at UKGBC, said, “The Raynsford Review delivers a bold vision for the future of planning, which puts sustainable development at the heart of the system. We fully support the recommendation for a comprehensive definition of sustainable development to become a legal duty.

“The Review rightly highlights the need to tackle housing standards and poor quality design. The proposed Building Code could offer much-needed clarity, if the future trajectory of standards – such as net zero carbon – were set out in advance. However, minimum standards at a national level shouldn’t preclude local authorities and cities from going further, faster – providing there is consistency in the metrics used.

“We agree with the Review that high quality development brings value to communities and society at large, but this is currently not well understood or quantified. The use of Social Value measurement is an important tool for both local government and industry, which can help drive better outcomes for people. There is an opportunity to build on the Review’s recommendations through the better integration of Social Value measurement into planning requirements.”

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