It's party conference season, so that means some new party policy announcements.
First up, from the Labour Party is a proposal for new homes corporations. This is the first key recommendation to emerge from the Lyons Housing Review, albeit that the commission has not yet made its final report - that is due later this year.
New homes corporations will be: "Set up by local authorities, normally at devolved city and county region level where councils choose to collaborate ........... accountable to their communities and [will] work closely with the private sector partners and housing associations commissioning a wider range of developers, including SMEs, to build out sites at pace."
There's a lot to unpack in that statement. Will they be creatures of statute, with planning and, maybe, compulsory purchase powers? Perhaps a new breed of new town corporation or urban development corporation? Or (just) glorified joint planning committees, embodiments of the duty to co-operate?
It appears that they should grow from local roots, with Labour's commitment to continue with a localism agenda. But not be much larger than local to fill the regional planning gap.
It promotes the idea of a need to increase more competition into the house building sector (so that there is less dependence on the major, volume house builders) and to ensure that land is released into the development market "giving owners certainty it will be built out at pace". Speed to planning and a reduction in the costs of promotion and implementation of consents will be welcomed by all given that it is these issues that have driven the decline of SMEs in the sector.
The statement accompanying the announcement refers also to the co-ordination and provision of infrastructure required to enable large-scale new development and funding to support that, with the new homes corporations being the focus and channel for such funding.