Speed up housing delivery by using Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime, says BPF

The Government has been urged to include housing developments in the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) regime to speed up their delivery and so help tackle the housing crisis.

At an event held at Pinsent Masons – Size and Delivery Matters – the British Property Federation (BPF) told delegates how a recent review of the NSIP regime has helped to unlock “significant” business and commercial opportunities, such as London Paramount, a £2.3bn scheme which it expected to create up to 27,000 jobs.

The organisation added that the NSIP could be used to deliver much more if mixed-use scheme were allowed to benefit from the regime.

“It is mad that government wants to exclude residential from the regime. If the greatest national need is for more housing… sooner or later a braver government is going to have to include a full range of land-uses if it is to deliver,” said John Rhodes, a director at planning consultancy Quod told delegates.

The planning regime for NSIPs has been in place since 2010, and has recently been reviewed with some “valuable tweaks” made to it, the BPF said, including now allowing nationally significant business and commercial projects to use the regime. However, schemes which include a residential provision are unable to qualify and cannot enjoy the benefits of a fast-tracked process and stronger delivery powers.

There are approximately 100 schemes going through the Development Consent Order process, which authorises NSIPs, 30 of which are being determined, with 29 of these having received planning consent and one of these being reconsidered.

“It seems as though the NSIP process is working very well and is an efficient way of getting significant infrastructure and commercial development projects off the ground,” said Ghislaine Halpenny, assistant director of planning and regeneration at the BPF. “However, if we are to see it really make an impact we would like to see government include a provision for housing. Schemes are ineligible for the process if they contain even a few homes, and we urge government to reconsider this if it wants to encourage large-scale regeneration across our towns and cities.”

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