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When the Coronavirus Act received Royal Assent last month, it opened the door to new modern ways of working in the planning industry by removing the legal requirement for planning committees to meet in person.

Before COVID-19, housing and infrastructure were in the political spotlight more so than for years. Will Keir Starmer’s coronation as Labour leader help keep it so?

Social’s Head of Major Projects Michael Vivona and Account Manager Freddie Palmer reflect on where the Labour Party goes next as Jeremy Corbyn prepares to depart.

They say a week is a long time in politics and its quite staggering to think that last Wednesday we were digesting news of the Budget, thinking that £30bn seems like an awful lot of money to fight coronavirus.

When Rishi Sunak was appointed Chancellor a few weeks ago people said that Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings would end up writing this Budget.

Promoting the ‘value’ of development has been a standard approach for major projects for many years. But I’m getting the sense that its impact is on the wane, in the face of rising scepticism and changing views around what ‘value’ is.

Last week saw the new Housing Minister Chris Pincher answer questions in the House of Commons for the first time since his appointment in the recent reshuffle. It was interesting in that it gave us an early indication that the new Government is keen to move the debate from meeting yearly housing targets, to a focus on ensuring high quality development.

What makes a successful place? A high quality physical environment is a good start; well-designed buildings sitting within plentiful green spaces, and streets laid out sympathetically for mixed use. But it is the community too; the people and the culture, that can give an area a distinct identity and consequently make it a place where people want to call home.

It’s amazing how quickly things change. I had planned to write a blog today about how the Government was neglecting housing by sacking yet another housing minister. However, today’s cabinet reshuffle took a bit of a dramatic turn with the surprise resignation of Sajid Javid.

January has seen the release of two critical reports into the poor quality of Britain’s new housing, raising the question as to how housing

The level of state control in the British planning system is also relatively unusual compared to other Western countries – “building is the sole major industry in which you can only do something if you have specific, detailed permission from the state”.

As the new year begins and the 2019 General Election fades into distant memory – helpfully aided by the Christmas/New Year lull – political attention will soon reawaken as all eyes turn to how the new majority Conservative government delivers on its promises.