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Whitehalls policies should focus on housing location, planners argue

The government must monitor the impact national planning policy has on housing growth patterns, a new report urges.

Published yesterday by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the study calls on Whitehall to ensure we are building new homes close to jobs and in areas supported by infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and sustainable transport.

The research, carried out by Bilfinger GVA, mapped over 165,000 new homes granted planning permission across 12 English towns and cities between 2012 and 2015.

They learnt almost 75% were within reach of major employment opportunities, but only 13% were within easy walking distance of a railway station.

‘With the government devolving powers to towns and cities, we need to ensure that housing, employment and infrastructure is properly coordinated to deliver sustainable growth,’ Phil Williams, president of the RTPI said.

‘Our research scrutinised over 700 housing schemes and while it is encouraging that the majority of new homes are currently being built close to jobs, many are not.’

Mr Williams argues the report, entitled The Location of Development, is an ‘important first step’ in measuring the impact of national planning policy on housing growth, but, he insists, ‘this should be a role for government.’

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