“This [deal] puts us in the Premiership in terms of major city regions in the UK. It’s going to be good for the whole population in terms of jobs, housing and transport.
“It also addresses some of the issues such as poverty, fairness and equality.”
A conversation about how the West of England can take control of its destiny may be starting to happen. And not before time…
After years of discussions, a devolution deal with Government promises to give the area’s local authorities more power over important issues like housing, transport, planning and skills. If ratified, it would unlock £1bn for local growth projects and provide councils with clout to make a bigger difference in these areas.
But there’s a sticking point for some that could derail the deal before it gets going. The government wants to see a ‘metro mayor’, who would chair a combined authority to oversee a joined-up response to the way these major matters are managed. Given the level of concern about this, it’s not certain that all councils will sign off on the deal.
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A new acronym hit the media today, with the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (or NPPF), which doesn’t really trip off the tongue but has set them wagging all the same.
The new system, announced today, sets out proposals to simplify planning, which is seen by the Government as vital in creating sustainable and thriving communities in this country.
It was debated on the radio early this morning as I drove to Hampshire, and on the way home at the end of the day. And it has had a variety of reaction from the Conservative-supporting Telegraph, which has campaigned against elements of the changes, to The Guardian, which has been more sanguine today.
You can read the documents behind the headlines and make up your own mind about it.
I blogged last month about an inspiring community-led scheme in High Bickington, Devon, which has brought villagers together to deliver badly needed housing and workspace for local people.
I was delighted this morning to read the two-page write-up Planning magazine had devoted to the project, following a visit and some interviews organised at the site a few weeks ago.
The link is not yet up on the website, so I can not provide this. But the coverage highlighted the project’s ‘local’ credentials, which predate the Government’s localism and Big Society agendas by the best part of a decade.
It’s great to see the project, and the role of the HCA in its delivery, recognised by the industry. I will try to provide links to the coverage when they are available!