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Innovation. Influence. Information.
This is a statement which recognises that growth begins on our local high streets. Business rates will be discounted for SMEs and payments scheduled over 12 months. In welcome news for finance directors across the land HM Treasury has pledged …
- This briefing takes as its starting point a range of key statistics to review progress made on a number of housing issues including housing supply, homelessness and housing sales.
- There is evidence that the housing market is gaining more confidence with fewer mortgage arrears, and repossessions and increased mortgage lending including to first time buyers.
- However, with house building falling by 14% and with the sector barely building half the housing required to keep up with population growth, while house prices rose by over 4% and new mortgage advances increased by 19%, these are not signs of a well-functioning housing market.
- While progress continues to be made on reducing the number of empty, non-decent homes and overcrowded properties, rates of homelessness continue to increase standing 33% higher from when the Coalition Government came to power.
- This briefing will of interest to all elected members and officers with responsibilities for or an interest in housing, economic development and regeneration.
This new report by Transparency International UK analyses the institutional robustness and integrity of English local government and its resistance to corrupt practice. It will be of interest to elected members and officers with responsibility for standards, audit, procurement, planning, and corporate policy.
• The Housing Standards Review consultation proposes reducing hundreds of standards on housing quality to fewer than ten – the deadline for comments is 22 October 2013
• Local planning authorities (LPAs) would need to undertake a rigorous viability test for each standard they wish to include in their local plan
• The housing/construction industry will still be able to create voluntary codes, however LPAs will not be permitted to mandate these in their local development plans – there are concerns that this may stifle attempts to use policy to encourage locally appropriate solutions
• The consultation includes questions around adopting mandatory minimum space standards for new housing, although the government would prefer that the industry develop a voluntary code
• If approved, the standards would abolish the Code for Sustainable Homes – some elements of the Code are retained, but not all
• The government would prefer to publish a set of ‘nationally described standards’ that are separate to the Building Regulations, with the aim of integrating the standards into the regulations at a point to be determined
• The consultation ranges across a range of professions and interests – this briefing will be of interest to officers and portfolio holders in planning, building control, housing, environmental health, adult and social care, and public health.
Eighteen months on from the Portas Review of high streets, the Government has published a progress report on national and local policies and initiatives to revitalise high streets and town centres. This briefing summarises the report and offers comment on key related developments and issues affecting high streets policy.
This briefing is relevant to councillors and officers across all areas and all tiers of local government, particularly those involved with planning and economic development.
Nick Boles, Planning Minister, addressed the All Party Parliamentary Local Government Group for their final meeting this summer. Representatives from around thirty local authorities were present as well as a number of parliamentarians and relevant stakeholders. Highlighting the aims behind …
• Salford City Council has published a consultation on a revised hot food takeaways supplementary planning document (SPD), which includes a proposal to ban new outlets near schools from opening until 5pm to restrict the exposure of children to junk food to help tackle obesity.
• A review of local planning authorities (LPAs) earlier in the year found that more than 20 have exclusion zone policies (draft or adopted) designed to ban new hot food takeaways from opening in close proximity to schools and other facilities such as leisure centres and parks.
• There is no published evaluation of the effectiveness of these kind of planning interventions, although organisations such as the National Institute for Health and Social Care Excellence (NICE) advise councils to consider using planning to restrict fast food outlets within a wider strategy to prevent obesity.
• This briefing is essential reading for elected members, planning officers and public health practitioners.
* The State of Nature 2013, produced by a coalition of 25 conservation bodies, details the decline in a majority of the UK’s plant, animal and insect species. It addresses rural and urban environments.
* The natural world has an intrinsic value. It is also vital to human wellbeing and prosperity. Targeted conservation, with broad public support and resources, is necessary to reversing its fortunes.
* This briefing summarises its key findings. It highlights the implications and potential for all district, county/unitary and town councils to reflect the report’s considerations across a broad range of responsibilities – from planning to neighbourhoods, transport, leisure and the environment.
Our identification with place is a fundamental part of our humanity. We all care deeply about the places that we live and work in. But we also want different things from them. On the one hand we want them to …
A new report from the LGiU, in association with the National Trust, examines how well councils think that the NPPF is helping them meet the planning needs of local communities.