• Thursday, July 18, 2024


‘New targets and planning reforms a welcome change for urban development’

The reintroduction of compulsory housebuilding targets for local councils is a transformative shift in policy.

A file photo of Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Rachel Reeves. (REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska/File Photo)

By: Amit Bhatia

AS A founding partner of Summix, a company dedicated to creating sustainable communities across the UK and Ireland since 2006, I welcome chancellor Rachel Reeves’ recent announcements on planning regulations and house building.

These reforms align closely with our mission to provide solutions to the housing crisis and could significantly impact our work in urban regeneration and strategic land development.

The reintroduction of compulsory housebuilding targets for local councils is a transformative shift in policy.

At Summix, we’ve long recognised the urgent need for new homes, having brought thousands of homes through the planning system across the UK and Ireland. The ambitious goal of 1.5 million new homes over the next five years presents both a challenge and an opportunity for planners like us who specialise in unlocking complex sites and providing much-needed confidence for the journey ahead.

Reeves’ promise to overhaul the “antiquated planning system” resonates with us. Our projects, such as the one at Worcestershire Parkway that the chancellor specifically name-checked in her speech on Monday (8), often involve navigating complex planning processes.

A more efficient system will allow us to deliver larger and more sustainable developments more rapidly, addressing housing needs while creating vibrant, multifunctional spaces.

The emphasis on a “brownfield and grey belt-first approach” aligns perfectly with Summix’s urban regeneration strategy.

Our Central Quay project in Glasgow exemplifies our commitment to transforming brownfield sites into thriving communities. This policy shift will likely create more opportunities for us to revitalise underutilised urban areas, a core aspect of our business.

The addition of 300 planning officers across the country is excellent news. At Summix, we pride ourselves on close collaboration with local authorities and communities, and we can see clearly that these authorities are stretched and under-resourced.

Enhanced planning resources will facilitate smoother interactions and accelerate projects from initial concept to final delivery, something our nation needs desperately.

The new task force to “accelerate stalled housing sites” addresses a challenge we often encounter. Our expertise in unlocking difficult sites positions us well to contribute to this initiative, and we hope the new government will work more closely with the private sector to understand the problems we face and how we can solve them together to help move the country forward.

In conclusion, a change in government policy gives us hope for a promising future for regeneration. As a company committed to creating places where people can live, work, and play, we at Summix are encouraged by these policy shifts.

They promise to create a more conducive environment for innovative urban regeneration and strategic land development.

DP Comment Amit Bhatia byline pic scaled e1720612644450
Amit Bhatia

However, the success of these reforms will depend on their implementation. We stand ready to work closely with local authorities, communities, and other stakeholders to realise the full potential of these changes. Our experience in delivering complex projects across the UK and Ireland positions us well to contribute to this new era of house building and urban regeneration.

As we move forward, Summix will continue to adapt and innovate, ensuring that we not only help the nation meet its housing targets but also create sustainable, thriving communities that stand the test of time. The challenges ahead are significant, but with these policy changes, we are more optimistic than ever.

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