Westminster Social Policy Forum

Next steps for house building and planning in England

Morning, Tuesday, 15th January 2019

Central London


This timely seminar will assess the next steps for house building and planning policy in England.

It follows the recent publication of the final report of Sir Oliver Letwin’s Independent Review recommending measures to tackle barriers to building. These include a requirement for those developing large sites in areas of high demand to provide a diversity of offerings, and the establishment of a National Expert Committee to advise local authorities on the interpretation of diversity requirements for large sites and arbitrate disagreements between local authorities and developers.

It also follows recent budget announcements including an extra £500m for the Housing Infrastructure Fund, up to £1bn of British Business Bank lending to SME housebuilders, and a consultation on new permitted development rights to convert commercial properties to homes and increase upward extensions.

The seminar also comes as the Government announces investment in a £1.3bn Land Assembly Fund and a £630 million Small Sites Fund to overcome barriers to building and release land to deliver 300,000 new homes a year by the mid 2020s, and follows the announcement from the Prime Minister of £2bn in new funding to housing associations for delivering tens of thousands of new affordable and social homes.

Delegates will discuss the future for planning policy and potential ways to encourage best use of land in light of the publication of the revised National Planning Policy Framework, which focuses on the building of better-designed homes in areas where they are needed. The Framework includes new environmental protection measures such as placing greater importance on air quality when deciding development proposals, and provides a new annual measurement of housing delivery which all councils will be required to take by from this month - the Housing Delivery Test.

Sessions will also focus on linking infrastructure to new development, and housing development to infrastructure and economic growth.

Keynote Speakers

Victoria Hills

Chief Executive, Royal Town Planning Institute

Stephen Dance

Director of Infrastructure Delivery, Infrastructure Projects Authority

Rt Hon Sir Oliver Letwin MP

Chair, Independent Review of Build Out

Professor Sadie Morgan

Commissioner, National Infrastructure Commission


Liz Twist MP

Member, Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee

John Penrose MP

Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Housing and Planning


Janet Sutherland

Director, The Academy of Urbanism; Member, Customer Experience Committee, Catalyst Housing; Consultant, London Region, Housing LIN and Independent Consultant

Stephen Kinsella

Executive Director, Land, Homes England

Dr Gemma Burgess

Acting Director, Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research

Councillor Gillian Brown

Leader, Arun District Council and Board Member, District Councils Network

Steve Radley

Director of Policy, Construction Industry Training Board

Ross Polkinghorne

Partner and Head of Real Estate Development, Burges Salmon