Bidwells has welcomed today’s proposed changes to the planning system – including the impending approval of two new towns in the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Corridor - but warned that without increased investment in planning authority resources there will be “no step change in housing delivery”.   

A long-awaited consultation on proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published today. Proposed modifications to the document were first announced in December 2015.

Housing secretary Sajid Javid also said in an interview with the Sunday Times that he would approve “at least two new towns” between Cambridge and Oxford in “the next few weeks” and could announce three more.

The news came as part of a range of government announcements today (March 5) on how it plans to solve the housing crisis.  

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is revising the NPPF - which was issued in March 2012 - as part of a reform package set out in a housing white paper last year.


Mike Derbyshire, Bidwells Head of Planning, said:

Bidwells welcomes the announcement that Government is fully committed to delivering five new garden towns in the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Corridor.

Confirmation that two will be formally backed as early as this week as another positive sign of growing momentum in this corridor and of government’s determination to deliver. These new settlements will undoubtedly contribute to our region’s continued economic success story.

However, even with the creation of development corporations or streamlined compulsory purchase powers it will likely be sometime before these make a meaningful contribution to the housing supply.

To achieve this would require a huge increase in investment in planning authorities to provide the skills and resources  to deliver these visionary settlements, it’s hard to see where this is going to come from and without it there will be no step change in delivery.

Unaffordability of housing - no matter the tenure - is at crisis point and immediate steps are required, particularly in those areas where the problem is most acute.

In last year’s Autumn Budget the Chancellor committed to re-opening the Varsity Line as a high-speed rail line and funding to build an expressway road between the two university towns.

The plans will be consulted on over the next eight weeks, with a final version of the revised NPPF expected to be published in the summer.


Mike will be speaking on the CaMkOx Corridor at the following events:

UK Government Pavilion session at MIPIM
10:00 on Thursday 15 March 2018

The British Property Federation is the programme partner for the Department for International Trade at MIPIM 2018, and the session provides an opportunity for the Government’s proposals around the CaMKOx Corridor to be showcased.

National Planning Summit
12:00 on Thursday 10 May 2018

Mike will be speaking on how to use strategic cross-boundary planning to coordinate infrastructure and housing delivery

  • How can joint plans/cross-boundary plans provide a more coordinated approach between infrastructure provision and housing supply
  • How does the government aim to incentivise cross-boundary planning through housing deals, and what sort of "strategic and zonal planning approach" does it expect in return?
  • Case Studies: Oxford housing deal, Greater Cambridge city-region plans and CaMKOx Arc
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