Let Them Eat Meringue

The Weekly Newgate Engage Planning Blog

By David Scane

On a recent trip to the local food market, my 4 year old son’s attention was captured by an enormous pink and white meringue for sale on one of the stalls. His protestations that he “really, really, really, really, really”, wanted one failed to break down my stubborn insistence that eating one would “send him up the walls”, and he was eventually sated with a large bag of figs (don’t ask).

The episode drew to mind Boris Johnson’s latest demands to, “really, really, really, really, really”, want a General Election on December 12th, and the opposition’s reluctance to give him one. In response, the Prime Minister has suggested that the Government would go ‘on strike’, unless Parliamentarians give him what he wants, with only the ‘bare minimum’ being done to keep Government running.

Now some people might unfairly suggest that the ‘bare minimum’ would represent a significant increase in activity for a Government that has done its best to avoid much work in the past two months; however, a shutdown is likely to have real world impacts, particularly on the development industry.

The recent Queen’s Speech saw the Government agreeing to implement the recommendations of the Hackitt Review to improve the safety standards of high-rise buildings in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy. It remains to be seen whether this crucial piece of legislation will now be shelved in the event of a shutdown. Elsewhere there is still no sign of the social housing green paper, and a Government strike is sure to do little for the new accelerated planning green paper scheduled for publication in November, nor ensure progress on the Secretary of State’s intervention in the South Oxon Local Plan process.

It remains to be seen whether Boris Johnson will follow through in his threats to go on strike if he doesn’t get his election on December 12th. In the face of such threats I suspect the opposition will harden its resolve that giving him what he wants will only end in tears.

This Week in Planning

Building Industry calls for more transparency over developer contributions – Property Wire

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) has called on the Government to reform the way developers contribute to local communities after the City of London revealed that millions of pounds remain unspent.

Southbank & Waterloo Neighbourhood Plan Referendum Passes

Southbank & Waterloo Neighbourhood Plan approved by local residents and businesses.

Secretary of State for Housing launches ‘most ambitious’ heritage preservation campaign for 40 years

The new campaign will challenge every single local authority across England to draw up lists of buildings of significant historical and cultural value to an area, ensuring important local monuments are no longer left neglected and unloved.

Lack of rural homes for retiring farmers stifling new entrants’ opportunities – Farmers Guardian

A lack of rural housing for ageing farmers is not only reducing the appeal of retirement but also hampering opportunities for new entrants.

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