RCA's 38 Days of the Housing White Paper; Day 9...

Everyday for the next 30 days we will be providing a link to our responses to the Government's Housing White Paper; here is our reply to Question 9... 


How could streamlined planning procedures support innovation and high-quality development in new garden towns and villages?

Garden towns and villages are simply a title given to a number of strategic sites that were always going to deliver eventually deliver substantial housing in the longer term. The number of such developments is limited (as illustrated in figure A.1 of the White Paper), as such it is not clear why they require additional policies at a national level.   The problem is that there are simply too few allocations across the Country as a whole.  Realistically each site will be built-out by 3 or 4 developers; with each developer delivering one or two units per week.  If all 24 sites had 4 developers delivering 1 unit a week, that would deliver 4,800 new homes per annum.  Based upon the needs figure of the now dated Barker Review (2004), this equates to 2.1% of the annual housing need of the Country.  Focusing time and effort on this marginal delivery mechanism is considered a poor use of resources. 

The schemes remain ‘flagship’ politically and as such incentives for innovation and improved delivery may be trialled on garden town and village schemes, but streamlining should not result in cut corners or poorer design, particularly when such schemes are being delivered in high value areas with strong demand already.    


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