event write up

Thank you for joining Women in Planning and CBRE Planning at our Summer Social Event – 13 July

Thank you to everyone who came along to our Summer Social event on the 13 July at CBRE’s beautiful roof top terrace overlooking St. Paul’s. We are very pleased that so many of you made it and of course a big thank you to CBRE for hosting and sponsoring the event.

The event was introduced by Mary Fortune, our Chair of the London Committee.

Alison Tero, a Senior Director in the Planning team, then gave us an introduction to the CBRE’s Women’s Network which is aimed at attracting and retaining talented women across the company with over 1000 members.

Lorraine Hughes, a Senior Director in the Planning team, followed to give us her top tips for a successful career:

  1. Go where you have a genuine interest
  2. Make the most of opportunities
  3. Network lots
  4. Be a team player
  5. Surround yourself with talent
  6. Have the right attitude
  7. Play to your strengths
  8. Be yourself
  9. Keep up to date
  10. Believe in yourself and your projects

We are lucky to be able to share Alison and Lorraine’s slides with you for those of you who could not make it. The slides can be accessed here: Women in Planning

We look forward to seeing you all at our next event!

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Article, event write up

Housing White Paper: A Step in the Right Direction

The long awaited Housing White Paper (HWP) was published in February 2017. The Paper has been hotly debated since and we are still waiting for the outcome of the consultation.

Alice Lester MBE (Head of Planning, Transport and Licensing at Brent Council), Lorraine Hughes (Senior Director at CBRE), Sara Parkinson (Planning and Development Programme Director at London First) and Rachel Ferguson (Senior Planning Executive at Metropolitan Housing) joined us on the 11 April at Dentons‘ London office to provide their view on the HWP.

Panel

Whilst there are differing views on the HWP’s effectiveness, the panellists provided a useful insight sectors. The panellists largely agreed that, whilst the HWP is not perfect; it is a step in the right direction and it is one of the many steps that is needed to be taken to increase the delivery of homes across the UK. Hughes noted that, “the HWP is going in the right direction. There is a need to understand the barriers and harness the opportunities”.

Planning is not the panacea for housing

From the panellist’s perspective, there is a failure to fully recognise the economics of the situation. Basic supply and demand theory is too simplistic when applied to the housing market as the affordability of housing is not comparable to the affordability of other commodities such as groceries. This is because “people use housing as an investment” therefore bringing housing down to an affordable level could mean negative equity for many people.

The panel considered that the HWP does not appropriately address viability, in particular it lacks clarity on London’s position. The HWP also fails to recognise the gap between policy and available funding which often leads to the delayed delivery of sites. Little attention is paid to the importance of the plan-making stage, and the issues surrounding the Green Belt firmly remains the ‘elephant in the room’.

On the whole, the panel agreed that the answer to deliver significant levels of new homes is too complex to be simply the burden of the planning system alone and as Parkinson commented “Planning is not the panacea for delivering new housing”. The ‘solution’ is much wider and would need to incorporate economic variables, viability, and politics all of which have a significant influence on housing delivery.

Increased Planning Application Fees

Lester welcomed the proposed changes to planning application fees but emphasised that there is still likely to be disparity between the fees and the actual man hours employed by Development Control teams. Major planning applications often end up subsidising householder applications and unless the fees are right an increase of 20% will not make much difference. Lester considered that planning application fees are only one part of a wider problem. The other issues Local Planning Authorities are facing is a clear key skill shortage, especially at principal planner level.

Hughes and Parkinson indicated that their clients and members are likely to pay the suggested increased planning application fees, but only if there were tangible improvements in decision taking. Parkinson said however, that resources were also needed in policy to increase confidence in a plan-led approach.

Speeding up delivery

Whilst the panel accepted that the private sector has a role to play in speeding up delivery of new housing, Housing Associations and Local Authorities also have an important role in the delivering of new homes.

Ferguson noted that her residential delivery rates are often stalled by the time it takes to discharge conditions.  She highlighted that the time taken to clear conditions is often longer than anticipated and this impacts on the commencement date. Lester explained how this is an issue she is trying to address in her current role at LB Brent. Lester holds regular ‘condition workshops’ where officers have to justify use of non-standard conditions and are told to apply conditions with caution.

Summary

The hype around the Housing White Paper remains and there are certainly suggested measures which the built environment industry would welcome as a way to facilitate the increased delivery of new housing. As agreed at the event, the HWP cannot be a standalone mechanism and will need wider support from sectors outside planning in order to meet the housing targets.

We shall await the outcome of the government’s consultation on the paper to understand whether any of the above ideas area common themes within the wider industry.

We are grateful to our panellists for taking part in the event and of course to our sponsor and host, Dentons for their hospitality.

 

Sara Sweeney, Planning Manager at Kitewood

 

breakfast

mary introduction and room full

mary introduction

panel in discussion 5

event write up

EVENT REVIEW: Christmas Social 2014

Women in Planning’s third annual Christmas event  took place on Thursday 11th December at Henry’s Café, Piccadilly. We know this is now a somewhat hazy distant memory.

It was great on the night to meet  new members and catch up with existing members. It was especially great to welcome students from UCL the Bartlett School of Planning and we encourage all students to join us at event over the course of 2015. We were also delighted to welcome a transport planner all the way from Manchester, and hopefully in 2015 we will be opening further chapters across the UK – so look out!

We would once again like to thank KDH Associates for their generous sponsorship.

As always we hope those that attended had an enjoyable evening and we look forward to welcoming you our events in 2015.

Please also read KDH Associates review of the evening here.

Photos available via our Facebook page.

event write up

EVENT REVIEW: Women in Planning – Summer Social – Thursday 28th August

Women in Planning inaugural summer event  took place on Thursday 28th August at The Fence in Farringdon.

 

We were please to welcome old and new faces from public, private and academic sector, planners and non-planners. Attendees included CgMs Consulting, Metropolis Planning and Design, Persimmons Homes, Kier, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and London Borough of Camden to name a few.

 

We would like to thank KDH Associates for sponsoring the evening and Mary Fortune from Metropolis Planning for organising the event.

 

We hope that all who attended had an enjoyable evening and we look forward to seeing you at our Proud of Women event on 8th October at Dentons Law Firm.

Women in Planning Summer Social 1 Women in Planning Summer Social 2 Women in Planning Summer Social 3 Women in Planning Summer Social 4

event write up

Women in Planning Christmas Social – 11th December 2013, Henry’s Café, Piccadilly

Women in Planning’s second annual Christmas event  took place on Wednesday 11th December at Henry’s Café, Piccadilly.

Over 50 women working in planning across London from the public, private, third sector and students attended to network and warmly welcome in the festive period. Attendees included CgMs Consulting, Metropolis Planning and Design, Persimmons Homes, Colliers International, and London Borough of Richmond, to name a few.

We would like to thank KDH Associates for sponsoring the evening and Alice May from Indigo planning for helping to deliver the event.

We hope that all who attended had an enjoyable evening and we look forward to many more events in the New Year! For those of you who were unable to attend, watch this space for details of future events and how to book tickets]. In the meantime from everyone at Women in Planning we wish you a very Happy Christmas and New Year!

PHOTOS COMING SOON!

event write up

Christmas Drinks – 10th December 2012, Henry’s café, Piccadilly.

Women in Planning’s first event was the perfect occasion to end the year with a bang!

Henry’s café in Green Park provided the ideal ambiance for Christmas drinks. The event was well attended by Women across all sectors of planning in London and it was the perfect opportunity to make introductions and get into the spirit of the season!

Many thanks to KDH Associates for sponsoring the evening.

We hope that all who attended had an enjoyable evening and we look forward to many more in the New Year! For those of you who we’re unable to attend, watch this space for details of up and coming events.

Sara Sweeney, Graduate Planner, Persimmon Homes