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Last updateThu, 16 Jun 2022 8am

Bandwagons role as the site managers gird their loins for the fray

Getting Britain building is still the BIG IDEA, with the encouragement of housing developments at the forefront.

Accordingly, the Homes and Communities Agency – part of the Department for Just About Everything – has announced the release of a new tranche of public land for development. It is part of a programme that will see land with capacity for up to 100,000 homes released for development by 2015.

The announcement coincided with the announcement that the shake-up of the planning process trumpeted by the DCLG will commence later this month. Henceforth, only major developments, some designated developments and Listed Building Consent, will require Design and Access Statements.

It appears that the number of developments receiving planning consent is already on the rise. The aforementioned HCA quoted a Home Builders Federation report showing the number of consents rose from 118,723 to 144,427 since the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) came into force last year. 

Co-incidentally, that same report – the HBF New Housing Pipeline Report – was central to to Ed Miliband’s “use it or lose it” speech urging legislation to combat land-banking. That was according to Glenigan, the construction data specialist whose figures formed the basis of the HBF report.

Mr Miliband, never one to see a bandwagon without jumping on it, was echoing the threat made by Mayor Boris to use compulsory purchase powers to force developers in London to do just that, as followers of my column in Construction National’s sister publication Your Expert Witness will have seen reported.

Speaking of the inimitable Mr Johnson, he has announced a deal to redevelop the Royal Albert Dock into a major new business district to attract Chinese and other Asia-Pacific enterprises to the city.

The figures are impressive: the development is expected to deliver 3.2 million square feet of business floor space, providing 20,000 new jobs.

The entire 35-acre site is in the Royal Docklands Enterprise Zone, one of flagship projects of Eric Pickles, who said: ““Enterprise Zones are creating new local jobs and stimulating business ventures through significant tax incentives, simplified planning and superfast broadband that will support our economy.”

So: simplified planning AND superfast broadband.

The first round winners of the NHBC’s Pride in the Job competition have been announced. They celebrate the work of the ‘front line’ site managers at housing developments around the country. Construction National has been following the awards with fascination for over a decade, and this year is no exception. We have reported on the recurrent success of some acknowledged experts at their work, together with the first female national award-winner and a number of larger-than-life characters. We have also introduced second – and even third – generation winners.

Our best wishes go with all of them in their efforts to be crowned Supreme Winner in London in January.

Chris Stokes