There is no doubt the Lyons Review is comprehensive and displays a real understanding of the issues that combine to keep housing supply lower than we need.
The most interesting elements of the report are those which look at:
- The role of the local authority in delivery
- Resourcing the planning process
- Ensuring land is built out.
There has been a lot of very positive commentary on the Lyons Housing Review. Of course what we do not know is how much of it would be taken forward by a Government that did not include the Labour party. Nevertheless, even if some of the detail is politically sensitive (eg, the increased focus on compulsory purchase), much of it is apolitical. In fact, a good deal of the review’s content, in particular the greater role to be played by local authorities, would be consistent with the re-emergence of the “regionalism” we are seeing in the context of the discussions on devolved powers.
It is good to see a recognition of the need to resource planning departments, which have been a major casualty of the public sector cuts in recent years. We hear all too often of major delays including several weeks or even months to have applications validated, let alone progressed to determination, and much of this is down to paucity of resource and experience. Even if some of the interesting ideas such as “use it or lose it” will be problematic, providing for additional and effective capacity within local planning departments seems an obvious early step.