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TOO MUCH DEMOCRACY?

ACAPAG - the Association of Consulting Architects'planning advisory group - convened last month to respond to the ODPM's proposed changes to PPG 3: Housing, which I considered here last month. In an admirably concise letter, chairman Andy Rogers summed up: 'In our view, the questions appended to the consultation are both loaded and irrelevant, leaving us with the distinct impression that this is a pretend 'tick-box'consultation and that our opinions will make no difference. Tinkering with PPG 3 is not the real issue.Not enough housing is being built simply because there is too much democracy at the local level - this must be faced by government.'

ACA has invited the CIC to support this view, which is supported by the economist leading the government's review of UK housing supply (also discussed here last month). She has made it clear that her team has found it difficult to identify changes to planning policy that would 'create change on the right scale'.

Speaking at a conference on housing finance, Kate Barker said: 'There seem to be problems with both the [planning] framework and the implementation. The way forward is likely to require a number of policy changes, running across all the aspects I have been asked to consider. However, one conclusion is crystal clear: a very large increase in the rate of house building will be required over the next few years in the UK if we are to tackle the supply problem successfully.'

Barker confessed that her expectation that there was wide support for increasing housing supply had 'taken something of a battering'. She said: 'In view of the extent of 'nimbyism', and the adverse perception of development all too often in the local political context, the importance of stressing the case for development has become all too clear.'

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