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In praise – once again – of our planners

I was invited round to Arup yesterday, to speak at an event for the National Planning Forum (NPF), along with (the rather luminous) James Harris of the Royal Town Planning Institute, (the extremely hilarious) Andrew Whitaker of the Home Builders Federation and (the ever genius) David Waterhouse of Design Council/CABE. No, I have absolutely no […]

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Old gold hits the mainstream

My blog of Thursday was clearly wrong in respect of the election-fatigue being suffered in Richmond Park! My old Mum and her neighbours turned out most diligently (53% is very high for a by-election) to give the government a bloody nose. For Mr Goldsmith’s huge majority in the general election to be overturned so spectacularly […]

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Drawing inspiration from the Great Estates

The property industry is greatly the poorer for the untimely death of the Duke of Westminster. Of course the credit for the enduring value of the Grosvenor Estate and Mayfair was not his alone, we have to pay homage to his forbears. But the late Duke was a wholly diligent and proper person, with a […]

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A new motor for housing construction?

Forgive my absence. I was away last week, rummaging around the Community Land Trust agenda, mainly on the west coast of Scotland. Blimey, it’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. A proper blast of exposure to some of the most beautiful scenery on this earth? Well, that never did anyone any harm. And the food was simply […]

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Reasons to be cheerful in 2016

A belated Happy New Year to one and all.  I have a good feeling about 2016 and I hope you do too.  As far as I can see, the market cycle and government policy seem to be in alignment; which is no bad thing.  And that’s before you factor in the sheer weight of both […]

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Why the east is full of promise

My job is greatly entertaining sometimes. I attended THE most diverting event in Norwich the other day.  It was a conference masterminded by Richard Bacon, the ebullient and effervescent MP for the vast constituency of South Norfolk, at the Maids Head Hotel (valued partners to the project) and it was entitled “How Should Norfolk Grow?”. […]

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Let’s give planners some credit

This is a blog to give you a bit of respite from Sir Howard Davies and airports, and the rapid and wholly unhelpful hardening of the battle-lines… Although, you might say, it is related… Those of you who are regular readers of this blog will acknowledge that I have never been one for bashing planners. […]

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Practical solutions to the housing crisis

It couldn’t have escaped anyone’s attention, particularly during the election, that we have a housing crisis in the UK.  Each and every party went rushing to make more promises on housing than the next.  I would fervently hope, now that the dust is settling, that we can finally develop a serious and grown up strategy […]

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After years of despair, optimism abounds

It was a huge privilege on Monday to sit in the box at the back of the Speaker’s Chair to hear Greg Clark give his triumphant statement to the House of Commons, as he said these stirring words “The components of each growth deal will transform the prospects of local economies. However, the whole is […]

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Birmingham and the joy of ‘biophilia’

When I think of Birmingham, a lot of things come to mind…. Birmingham has a lot of qualities. A lot of redeeming features. But green? Well, not exactly. Apparently (and I learnt this from a press release sent to me the other day,  it can be huge fun being a faux journalist sometimes) Birmingham is set […]

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