Sir Bob Kerslake, head of the civil service and permanent secretary to the Communities department, confirmed last night that the government would offer a default “yes” to new development that it defines as “sustainable”, as part of the new planning system.
Speaking to an audience of more than 200 members of the housing industry at the British Property Federation’s residential dinner, Kerslake said that, despite vociferous media campaigns against the government’s proposed “presumption in favour of sustainable development”, the government was committed to economic growth above all else, and that the new National Planning Policy Framework would reflect this.
He said: “Economic growth is paramount across every aspect of this government’s policies. And in the national planning policy framework, the presumption will help to ensure that this happens.”
Kerslake also said that on the housing agenda, the most important subject for the Department for Communities and Local Government was the private rented sector. He confirmed that Ian Fletcher of the British Property Federation and Nick Jopling, executive director of Grainger, would be on a panel of eight experts led by City veteran Sir Adrian Montague reporting before the summer on how to unlock institutional investment in the sector.
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