Reflections

In terms of the themes of this book, England (in particular, within the wider British context) exemplifies both some of the ‘best’ aspects of planning for housing, and also some of the ‘worst’. Whilst inclusionary approaches to provision of affordable housing within generally mixed developments have been mainstreamed and delivered on a major scale for more than a decade, England seems chronically incapable of planning for or building anything like enough housing in total for its expanding population. In a sense, the same feature lies behind both of these stories—local control. Compared to other countries, incentives to support and promote development are weaker, relative to the political costs which local councillors perceive. The evolution of mechanisms like s106, the CIL, and the NHB do somewhat increase incentives, but maybe the spatiality of growth will inevitably end up being a ‘coalition of the willing’ (Bramley and Watkins 2014b). In looking for ways to move the planning system further into a supply-promoting mode, the most plausible reforms in our view focus on giving authorities more positive tools to work with in leading proactive development agencies with the power to bring land forward and involve a wider range of housebuilders who actually want to build housing.

 
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