The Centre for Policy Studies is a non-profit-making organisation, which ‘…develops and promotes policies to limit the role of the state, to encourage enterprise and to enable the institutions of society’. It is right-leaning, and has strong links to the Conservative Party.
On 20 May 2016, it published A Convergence of Interests, a report written by Keith Boyfield and Daniel Greenberg.
The report is a response to the housing crisis, which in 2015, saw just 136,000 new homes completed in England, well below the need for 250,000 new homes a year if the Government is to meet its target of 1 million new homes by 2020.
The report argues that all the pre-conditions are in place to allow a rapid increase in house building:
- The prevalence of ‘nimbyism’ (not in my back yard ism) is in decline as people increasingly appreciate the need for more housing.
- Institutional capital is more interested in investing in housing and infrastructure.
- Local authorities are more prepared to consider ambitious developments.
The report suggests that Government should exploit the opportunity created by this mixture of conditions by creating ‘Pink Zones' which bring together, through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), all the local interests necessary to ‘…found stable and attractive communities’. The concept already exists in the USA, and has been implemented in cities such as Phoenix, Arizona.
Pink Zones are areas with a ‘diluted’ regulatory regime which:
- Provide a streamlined planning system.
- Work from the bottom up, not the top down to bring together residents, developers and councils to achieve a consensus about new development.
- Increase competition, bypass many current planning regulations and improve design standards.
The report proposes that rolling out pink zones would involve the re-designation of some green belt land, suggesting that the area of greenbelt has more than doubled since 1979, and much of this land ‘is hardly green’.
Designated pink zones could use Compulsory Purchase Orders where necessary and offer direct compensation for those affected by any proposed development.
Report author Keith Boyfield, a leading economist and research fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies said, “Ultimately Pink Zones would create more and better homes for people throughout the country and tackle the poverty of aspiration which typifies much residential construction in this country. Our Pink Planning proposals create a mechanism whereby a convergence of interests can be taken forward. By encouraging Special Purpose Vehicles to emerge, Pink Planning, with its streamlined planning framework and a single consenting regime, can bring together all the relevant parties to create new developments that are finely tuned to the needs of individual communities.”
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