The report (52-page / 5.75MB PDF), which has been produced by an expert advisory panel led by Berkeley Group chairman Tony Pidgley, sets out recommendations on how the Government could unlock the delivery of thousands of new homes on publicly owned land.
The panel said that to facilitate delivery of large housing projects, it is "vital" that such schemes are determined quickly. It recommends that such schemes should be classified as major infrastructure projects to be determined by the Secretary of State as this would "support a fast-track approach".
The report also urges the Government to consider a fast track process for appeals for planning applications of major national importance which would "run contemporaneously with the short option period designed to promote early delivery of schemes". It says that this would require the Planning Inspectorate to "commit the necessary resource and time to review the planning decision on major applications within three months of an appeal".
The panel recommends that the Government reintroduces interim 'minded to approve' inspector reports as it says this would "aid the process and enable developers and local authorities to find a mutually acceptable solution without the cost and risk of the current "binary” outcome of grant or rejection of an appeal".
The recommendations follow proposals in the Growth and Infrastructure Bill to allow major commercial and business projects to be fast-tracked by way of direct applications to PINS.
Other recommendations in the report include using the Government's new infrastructure fund to support delivery by providing funding to schemes of over 500 homes to enable works and to require all public sector landowners with surplus sites to create a 'plan for sale' while the Government provides incentives and sanctions to ensure these are disposed of in a "clear and speedy way".
"This is a golden opportunity to deliver growth and great places', said Pidgley. "It's surplus public land. It doesn't need new legislation. In recent weeks, the Deputy Prime Minister has urged us to think big. The Planning Minister has urged us to make new housing beautiful. On all these sites we can do both."
"What it needs is a simple system to dispose of the available land alongside investment in infrastructure, and then the private sector can shoulder the risk, paying back the funding and land value to government once the homes are built," he said.