Published: 21st September 2015

The new report out today calls for Government to look at new measures to address the housing crisis. The report recommends that:

  • Government urged to consult on bringing housing within the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime “as a matter of urgency”
  • Use of the NSIP regime could harness the power of the private sector and “relieve hard-pressed local authority budgets”

The UK government should consult on a proposal to bring housing within the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) regime as a matter of urgency, according to a new report released today which you can download here. The report states that there is a “clear imperative for central government to show strong political leadership in driving large-scale housing development in the national public interest”.

It says that the use of the NSIP regime, which is widely considered a success having led to the consent of over 40 nationally significant infrastructure projects since its establishment in 2008, could harness the power of the private sector and “relieve hard-pressed local authority budgets”.

The report, commissioned by law firm Bond Dickinson and planning consultants Quod, was carried out by leading independent researchers and is based on the views of a wide range of respected housing and planning experts from the public and private sector. It concludes that while there is widespread support for creating new settlements on the scale of the post-war New Towns in order to address the housing crisis, this is unlikely to happen without policy and legislation that overcomes the current barriers to bringing forward large-scale housing and mixed use projects within the current planning system.

John Rhodes, Director at Quod, commented:

“Remedying the chronic under-provision of housing should be an economic and a social priority. At present, however, developers are denied access to the national infrastructure planning process for housing proposals and thereby denied the use of the single most effective regime for delivering development. With appropriate safeguards in place, the use of the NSIP regime would transform the ability of the private sector to make a meaningful contribution to the national housing crisis.”

He added:

“The NSIP regime has proved effective in enabling nationally important infrastructure projects to be brought forward efficiently and fairly and it has been extended to include business and commercial development. There is no logical reason to why it should not be applied to assist the country’s greatest development need: the need for housing.”

Kevin Gibbs, Partner at Bond Dickinson added:

“There is no technical or legislative barrier to including housing within the NSIP regime, though there is debate about whether its inclusion would need a National Policy Statement to establish robust criteria of need, or whether the already established NPPF would be enough. There are no perfect solutions to delivering large scale housing development, but the NSIP regime looks to be an attractive option, and we urge the government to consult on its usage as a matter of urgency.”

Download your copy of the report here.