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Changing the culture of planning: delivering the Government's reforms


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GL Hearn's research in partnership with the BPF on changing the culture of planning in the UK.

GL Hearn's research in partnership with the BPF on changing the culture of planning in the UK.

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  • Thank you Alastair. We’re very pleased to be able to share with you today the key findings of the research we have undertaken. We have actually undertaken two research projects. I will cover first the Annual Planning Survey undertaken with the BPF, and then a little later move on to our London focused development management data.
  • The debate around planning reform has become hugely polarised and these are just a selection of the headlines from over the last few weeks.So, what does the survey work tell us that might help cut through the rhetoric and help us gauge the real current ‘state of planning’?
  • Firstly, some background on the annual planning survey … [read slide]
  • Firstly the applicant’s view …
  • This first slides looks at investment considerations … [read slide]The most popular themes or comments from those not responding positively were:Negative mentality or culture – a “presumption against development”Lack of consistency of approach or serviceToo much politicsLack of commercialityToo reactiveDelays
  • Next we look at what respondents listed as the top planning considerations when seeking permission:- Certainty – the likelihood of getting permission- Policy – having a clear position- Time – it takes to get a decision- Cost – of obligations/CIL- LPA performance- Political control – of the LA
  • Focusing now on planning applications, key concerns relate to:Time – 75% of respondents are dissatisfied with the length of time a typical planning application takes to be decidedCost – 68% weredissatisfied with the typical cost of a planning application (this includes fees, executive time, concessions and planning obligations)
  • But haven’t Planning Performance Agreements or PPAs made a difference? - Only 25% of those that have entered into PPAs believed that they were positive- They are generally considered ineffective, time consuming and do not represent value for money
  • Turning now to the views of local authorities
  • We asked what are the greatest challenges faced by Local Planning Authorities?Over the last 3 years … [read first colum]Over the next 3 year … largely the same issues raised but with “getting plans and policy in place” emerging. Probably a reference to the pressure being exerted by the NPPF for plans to be in place in 1 year and / or the Community Infrastructure LevyNotably not development viability in the next 3 years
  • When asked how do you think applicants’ view their authorities approach to planning, 75% respondents said positive.There is clearly a general mismatch between this response and the Applicants’ responses above.
  • Some of the questions were directly comparable between applicants and LPAs
  • There is a high degree of scepticism shared by both applicants and LPAs with respect to DCLG’s overall objectives for planning reform. We asked… [read bullets]
  • So what would make the biggest difference?We asked … [read column headings]Although there are similarities between the items raised by both parties, the highest ranked are quite different. Applicants’ are looking for speedier decisions and the greater certainty that they feel that some de-politicisation might bring. For LPAs’ CIL and policy activities rank highest.
  • In order to better understand the issues and concerns around how planning decisions are currently made, GL Hearn has undertaken more detailed research looking closely at each of the London Boroughs and the processing of major planning applications (using a combination of Local Authority and PINS data and our own). As we have already shown, the characteristics of individual LPAs is increasingly becoming an investment criteria in its own right. Therefore in the context of a planning system that can be inherently inefficient, a detailed understanding of individual boroughs is important.
  • Some background on this survey which was a quantitative review rather than an attitudinal survey… [read slide]
  • This background slide shows all major applications dealt with in London by Borough It ranges from 89 applications in Westminster to 10 in Barking & Dagenham and Kingston upon Thames. These numbers exclude those seeking to vary previous permissions e.g. Section 73 applications.
  • The Annual Planning Survey has shown use that Certainty, Time & Cost are three of the most important factors from an applicants’ perspective and we have grouped our analysis accordingly
  • Firstly, certainty …
  • This slide shows us the approval rate of major applications across all London boroughsThe average approval rate ranges from 57% to 100%The average approval rate across all London boroughs is 85% and therefore reasonably high
  • This is the same information shown spatiallyThis represents a fairly random picture and reinforces the need to understand each Borough in detail and separately
  • This slides brings together data on the number of major applications each Borough dealt with during the year and its average approval rateAs you can seen there is a very wide spread and in the top right hand corner we have highlighted the 5 boroughs who dealt with the highest quantity of major applications and have the highest approval ratesCity of London, Hammersmith & Fulham, Redbridge, Brent and Westminster
  • This slide indicates that likelihood of Planning Committee overturning recommendations19 boroughs had no major applications overturned at planning committee during the year preceding NPPFOf the 14 others, rates range from 2%-19% (or almost 1 in 5)
  • Moving on now to time
  • This slide illustrates the time each Borough took to determine its major applications
  • Onaverage 38 weeks Fastest borough from validation to determination averages 18 weeks and slowest around 87 weeks. A quite massive variance.
  • None average the 13 week government target
  • This is the 12 month ‘planning guarantee’ that the coalition has promised to introduce and, on this basis, that looks pretty achievable, however, there exists a small problem in that …
  • The 12 month guarantee includes any appeal that might be requiredA public inquiry appeal is currently averaging 31 weeks for these sorts of applications in London and therefore putting this timeframe out of reach for most LAsIt is also important to remember that this slide shows averages and that a great number of applications currently massively exceed the timeframes shownThere is no doubt therefore that this is a huge challenge
  • And to put all this in context - this indicates the two year line
  • Another scatter diagram this time showing time taken vs. approval rate Just as an indication - Barking & Dagenham, Hammersmith & Fulham, Redbridge, Enfield, Bexley, Westminster and Croydon approved 90%+ of its applications within 40 weeks
  • Looking now briefly at appeals, this shows the number of appeals decided and the proportion of appeals allowed between 2008-2012 Overall the number of appeals have dropped but those allowed has remained fairly consistent and ranged from 29-33%. Actually lower than we had expected.
  • Moving finally to cost
  • As you can see Planning application fees have increased only marginally over the period 2007-2013 This is based on an average 50 resi unit scheme 2013 includes the 15% increase duePre-app fees have however grown and represent a significant additional cost
  • This slide aims to highlight the total indirect cost to project of planning application fees and S106/CILFirst we have application costs as per previous slideNext average S106 costs for major applications in London (excluding affordable housing)Finally we need to add on affordable housing and CIL. We have no hard figures on this but there is no doubt that this is significant and ranges from borough to boroughThe main point I’d like to make here is that application costs are relatively small in relative terms although I am not playing down their significance in a very difficult market
  • CIL as you know has arrived although the take up so far has been lowThese slides are taken from our CIL monitoring service and illustrates that by next year many more boroughs will have its CIL in place as shown in greenThe deadline as you know for those boroughs who wish to take it up is 2014
  • So, finally, some thoughts for discussion this morning from me
  • Dipping back again into the Annual Planning SurveyWhen LPAs were asked what will the planned 15% increase in application fee next year enable them to do. - Only 3% thought that it might allow them to deliver an improved planning service. - 82% thought that it could only maintain the status quoThis poses some real issues in the context of further public sector funding not being made available. Must fees rise further? What is the right balance between planning’s traditional regulatory origins and a modernised customer / service provider relationship?
  • In this context, how might we create an improved service that both LPAs and applicants’ might be proud of?… [read slides]Thank you
  • Thank you.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Changing the culture of planning:Delivering the Government‟s reforms
    • 2. WelcomeAlastair Crowdy,National Head of Planning, Development & Regeneration18 September
    • 3. The Annual Planning SurveyShaun Andrews,Head of Investor & Developer Planning18 September
    • 4. “Planning refusal shows Authorityis „closed for business‟ “Poorly performing planning teams face special measures”“Cameron to tackle planning again inattempt to kick-start economy” “Labour: reforms take power out of hands of local people”“Housing approvals fall by third” “Government push to reform planning laws could backfire, warns senior planning officer”
    • 5. About the survey• Survey of those closely involved in planning in public and private sector• Applicants - 180 respondents - principals and professional advisors• Local planning authorities – 40 senior managers, 11 London Boroughs• Early indication of attitude following introduction of Localism Act and NPPF• Annual survey to measure change
    • 6. Applicants‟ views
    • 7. Key FindingsInvestment Decisions• Whether to invest in a project • Perceptions of LPAs‟ approach to informed by: development not encouraging Positive ‒ Traditional factors such as: 10% • Market opportunity • Fit with investment strategy Negative 41% ‒ Increasingly influenced by: • Previous experience of an LPA • Reputation of an LPA Neutral 49%
    • 8. Key FindingsTop planning considerations when seeking permission The political control Other of the local authority The cost of submitting a planning application The likelihood of securing permission The local planning authority‟s performance The cost of planning obligations/Communi ty Infrastructure Levy (CIL) The time it takes to A clear planning get a decision policy position
    • 9. Key FindingsPlanning applications• Length of time to determine • Cost including fees and obligations Very satisfied Satisfied Very satisfied Satisfied 1 8% 1% 2% Very Very dissatisfied dissatisfied Neutral – it‟s Neutral – it‟s fine 22% 25% fine 17% 29% Dissatisfied Dissatisfied 46% 50%
    • 10.
    • 11. Local authorities‟ views
    • 12. Key FindingsGreatest challenges• Over the last three years: • Over the next three years: ‒ Maintaining services with ‒ Maintaining services with reduced resources reduced resources ‒ Legislative change causing ‒ Legislative change causing uncertainty/complication uncertainty/complication ‒ Development viability ‒ Getting plans / policy in place ‒ Delivering housing ‒ Delivering housing ‒ Increased expectations in the „post-Localism‟ world
    • 13.
    • 14. Applicants‟ and local authorities‟views
    • 15. Key FindingsAttitude to reform• Thinking generally about the Government‟s agenda, do you think it will materially: ‒ Deliver more homes and economic growth? • Yes: 32% applicants & 12% LPAs ‒ Produce a faster and leaner planning system? • No: 79% applicants & 83% LPAs ‒ Overall, increase or decrease development activity? • Neither increase nor decrease: 71% applicants & 88% LPAs
    • 16. Key findingsWhat would make the biggest difference?• Applicants‟ views on what would • Local authorities‟ priorities for make the biggest difference to improvement performance ‒ Processing applications faster ‒ CIL ‒ Empowerment of officers / de-politicise ‒ Production of policy documents / the system ‒ Improvement to evidence base ‒ Investment in LPAs ‒ Pre-app consultation ‒ Increase accountability ‒ Training of members ‒ More commercial culture ‒ Size and budget of planning depts. ‒ Clear delivery frameworks ‒ Involving members in pre-apps ‒ Increase accessibility to officers ‒ Speeding up delivery of decisions ‒ Pro-growth agenda ‒ Improved policy documents ‒ Further training for officers & members ‒ Increased consistency
    • 17. LondonWhat‟s happening on the ground
    • 18. The Annual London Development Management Survey• All 33 London Boroughs were surveyed• Objective - review management of all major planning applications• Major planning applications - 10 or more dwellings, residential sites over 0.5 ha, non-residential sites over 1 ha or creation/change of use of over 1,000 sq. m. gross• Timeframe - 12 month period preceding publication of NPPF in April 2012• Benchmark year from which post NPPF change can be measured
    • 19. Major Applications Determined in London 2011-12, by Borough Kensington & Chelsea, 12 Kingston-upon-Thames, 10 Richmond-upon-Thames, 14 Haringey, 21 Barking & Dagenham, 10 Bexley, 18 Enfield, 22 Westminster, 89 Lewisham, 23 Merton, 23 Waltham Forest, 23 Southwark, 75 Newham, 23 Harrow, 23 Tower Hamlets, 57 Sutton, 25 Wandsworth, 26 Hounslow, 55 Ealing, 27 Hillingdon, 47 Croydon, 27 Brent, 41 Havering, 28 City of London, 33 Hackney, 41 Redbridge, 33 Greenwich, 38 Islington, 34 Hammersmith & Fulham, 34 Lambeth, 37 Bromley, 35 Camden, 36 Barnet, 35
    • 20. Certainty - Time - Cost
    • 21. Certainty
    • 22. Approval Rate of Major Applications 100% 90%Percentage of Major Applications Permitted 80% 70% 60% 50% All London Boroughs
    • 23. Number of major applications decided vs. approval rate Westminster BrentNo. of Major applications determined Hammersmith & Fulham Redbridge City of London Proportion of Major Applications Approved
    • 24. Likelihood of Committee Overturning Recommendations20%18%16%14%12%10%8%6%4% No recommendations for major applications overturned by committee in 19 out of the 33 London Boroughs2%0% All London Boroughs
    • 25. Time
    • 26. Time To Determine Major Applications 120 100 80Weeks taken to determine 60 40 20 Validation to determination 0 All London Boroughs
    • 27. Time To Determine Major Applications 120 100 80Weeks taken to determine 60 40 35 week average determination 20 0 All London Boroughs
    • 28. Time To Determine Major Applications 120 100 80Weeks taken to determine 60 40 20 13 week target determination 0 All London Boroughs
    • 29. Time To Determine Major Applications 120 100 80Weeks taken to determine 60 1 year DCLG target determination (inc. appeal) 40 20 0 All London Boroughs
    • 30. Time To Determine Major Applications 120 100 31 week average inquiry 80Weeks taken to determine 60 40 20 0 All London Boroughs
    • 31. Time To Determine Major Applications 120 100 2 years 80Weeks taken to determine 60 40 20 0 All London Boroughs
    • 32. Time taken vs Approval rate 100 90 Redbridge 80Weeks to determine applications Hammersmith Enfield & Fulham 70 Westminster Croydon Bexley 60 50 40 30 Barking & Dagenham 20 50% 55% 60% 65% 70% 75% 80% 85% 90% 95% 100% Proportion of major applications approved
    • 33. Appeals Decided (Average all Boroughs) 120 100% 90% 100 80% 70%Number of appeals determined Percentage of appeals allowed 80 60% 60 50% Number of appeals determined Percentage of appeals allowed 40% 40 30% 20% 20 10% 0 0% 2008-9 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12
    • 34. Cost
    • 35. Costs of a Planning Application£30,000£25,000£20,000 Mayoral Pre-App Fee£15,000 Local Pre-App Fee Application Fee£10,000 £5,000 £0 2007 2012 2013
    • 36. Application costs in context Affordable Housing/CIL ? S106 £0.94m Application costs
    • 37. Community Infrastructure LevyProgress in London (2012 & 2013)
    • 38. Points for discussion
    • 39.
    • 40. Creating a service culture• Would applicants support an increase in application fees if, in return, a „service contract‟ with the LPA was put in place?• Could a new style PPA work if it had teeth and guaranteed a timetable and standards and embodied principles such as: ‒ Urgency ‒ Transparency ‒ Accessibility ‒ Accountability ‒ Consistency• Would it be right for applicants to be able to „Opt out‟ and go straight to inspectorate if authorities are placed in „special measures‟ ?• Should central government funding relate to performance?
    • 41. Thank
    • 42. The Government‟s objectiveSteve Quartermain,Chief Planner for England, Department of Communities and LocalGovernment18 September
    • 43. The Local Planning Authority‟s viewSue Foster,Executive Director Housing Regeneration & Environment,London Borough of Lambeth18 September
    • 44. The applicant‟s viewAdrian Penfold,Head of Planning and Corporate Responsibility, British Land18 September
    • 45. The two cultures of planning?Adrian Penfold www.britishland.comHead of Planning and Corporate Responsibility
    • 46. Outline• The Hampton Review• The Killian Pretty Review• The Penfold Review• Public and private sectors - differences and similarities• Conclusions 47
    • 47. The Hampton ReviewPrinciples of better regulation• Transparent• Accountable• Proportionate• Consistent• Targeted – only at cases where action is neededAssessing our Regulatory System – The Hampton Review (2005) 48
    • 48. The Killian Pretty ReviewReinforcing a service culture – the decision maker’s view:• Applications not fit for purpose• Relational nature of the process – trust and understanding• Limits of frontline staff empowerment – political process• Resourcing difficult• Perverse incentives from targetsThe Killian Pretty Review: Planning applications - A faster and moreresponsive system: Final Report (2008) 49
    • 49. The Penfold ReviewStrengthening service culture• Publish service standards• Improve coordination of consenting bodies• Improve accessibility of information and guidance• Survey customer satisfactionResource pressure• Joint working• ChargingThe Penfold Review of non-planning consents (2011) 50
    • 50. In your experience…* Local Planning Authority survey results, GL Hearn and British Property Federation (2012)ƚ Developer and applicants survey results, GL Hearn and British Property Federation (2012) 51
    • 51. Public sector vs private sectorThe Leadership Trust „Leadership in the public sector – is it different?‟ (2009)Based on a survey by Ashridge 52
    • 52. Public sector vs private sectorThe Leadership Trust „Leadership in the public sector – is it different?‟ (2009)Based on a survey by Ashridge 53
    • 53. Planning professional competences 54
    • 54. Private sector and public sector - cultures 55
    • 55. Goals and objectivesTo ensure that the Borough Council has a robust plan to ensureplanning decisions are in accordance with the strategic needs of thetown and that the plan is prepared in sufficient time to ensure thatit maximises developer contributions and avoids planning byappeal 56
    • 56. ConclusionsAreas for improvement• Education/CPD• Interchange – Career change – Secondments• Status of planner in organisation• Transparency• Targets• Escalation• Resources• Accreditation of experts• Fees 57
    • 57. THANK 58 58
    • 58. The Greater London Authority‟s roleStewart Murray,Assistant Director of Planning, Greater London Authority18 September
    • 59. “Delivering theGovernment’s reforms”:the London responseBPF/GL Hearn event18 September 2012Stewart MurrayAssistant Director – Planning, GLA
    • 60. London is different….• Democratically: Mayor, City & 32 London Boroughs• Organisationally: London Plan and Local Plans =Development Plan• Demographics/economics: net contributor to nationalrecovery, plus tackling its own issues – with partnershipworking/investment• Growth: Only Region where house prices rising andgrowth/jobs being delivered significantly. Census 2011• Focus on delivering outcomes desired by nationalpolicy – through London localism: at neighbourhood,borough and London-wide levels
    • 61. Government’s reforms….• NPPF (what happens to the remaining guidance?)• Secretary of State Statement 6 Sept.12 Growth Measures Planning Reforms / Streamlining• Mayor’s response: 13 Sept.12 Letter to Mr Pickles: - Supports big investment in housing development and key infrastructure Opportunities for Private Rented Sector and Empty Homes brought into use Changes of Use (commercial) and PD relaxations Public Sector Land & Property Holdings – innovative investment models Prioritisation of Major Strategic Developments and Planning Applications Stronger Collaboration and GLA / London Boroughs Partnerships Take Over more high profile and cross-borough planning applications Lead on S.106 reviews and development/housing viability –skills and effective solutions GLA greater role, rather than PINS, on key strategic development decisions
    • 62. Revised Early Minor Alterations toLondon Plan• Presumption in favour of sustainable development: in principle,the Plan is the London expression of the NPPF 87 policies consistent with NPPF, 33 policies consistent in substance 1 policy inconsistent: affordable housing definition (EIP November)• Affordable Housing and Affordable Rent: new policy position;realism and responsibility in addressing housing need and funding• Minor updates e.g. Localism Act Neighbourhood planning Duty to cooperate Community based initiatives for renewable and low carbon energy S106 & CIL Cycle parking
    • 63. Implementation….• “Barriers to Housing Delivery” project: complementing Governmentelsewhere in the country• Real partnership working at area / site level – Boroughs/Developers• OAPFs: focusing on delivery through partnership working• The Olympic legacy: MDC in action: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park• New Delivery Vehicles: Dev Corporations/EZs: any further potential?• Enhancing quality and streamlining housing standards: Housing SPG• S.106 renegotiation: role for GLA in London• Strategic support for Neighbourhood Planning: Shaping Places SPG• Mayoral Funding Support: Outer London Fund / Regeneration Fund
    • 64. Other new strategic challenges• Population: latest ONS projections and Census: -1 million extra people in London (a new Birmingham inside M25?)Population increase could almost double relative to 2011 London Plan?What does this mean for household growth?Densities and household size gone up• Employment: back to 2007/8 peakWhat can planning do to sustain growth in current economic environment?• Further Alterations to London Plan policy:Policy and implementation responses to tackle key issues e.g. new SHLAA, Borough housing targets revised housing and commercial requirements/provision ageing and younger population; increased student numbers social / community infrastructure, i.e. schools/health
    • 65. How might these affect London’s structure?
    • 66. Other Mayoral planning documents•Coming out this Autumn: •London Planning Statement •Housing SPG •London Office Policy Review •Industry & Transport SPG •Note on duty to cooperate and the London Plan •Draft SPG on Crossrail s106/CIL•Later in 2012/13: •Draft Sustainable Design and Construction SPG •Draft guidance on hazardous substances •Draft Town Centres SPG
    • 67. Build your own home – the London way• Guidance published 28 July• £3m resource funding to help community groups work updesigns, potentially culminating in a Community Right toBuild Order• GLA keen to promote this through Neighbourhoodplanning forums• – for more information• £5m development loan finance for custom build - Design for London organising event 28 September 2012 - – for more information
    • 68. Other things to watch out for.....• Mayors "2020 Vision“  Prioritising Implementation Delivery/Opportunity Areas  GLA Land Holdings – leverage and unlocking development• Government: Taking forward the ministerial "housing and planning" statement in London: "failing" LPAs  unpicking s106s  changes to major infrastructure thresholds  design standards• CIL & Funding Priorities - Potential changes  "technical" changes (s73) and wider changes: BPF Group  Boroughs / developers/ land owners prepared to fast-track development will improve Mayoral funding potential
    • 69. Questions?GLA PlanningEmail:;
    • 70. DebateLiz Peace,Chief Executive, British Property Federation18 September
    • 71. Conclusions and next stepsLiz Peace,Chief Executive, British Property Federation18 September
    • 72. CloseThank