Today's Standard column contains a couple of items of interest: first, further details of the 50:50 JV between Lend Lease and London & Continental Railways to build a huge new commercial centre at the Stratford entrance to the Olympic Park: second, the news that the new government will publish a planning green paper within the next couple of weeks - and space for legislation later this year.
The scope of the £1.3b Stratford development isn't quite as big as first disclosed on EGi on April 10th. But 4m sq ft of space over 22 acres straddling the international rail station is quite big enough. Work cannot start on site until March 2013, after temporary Olympic buildings are torn down. But the partners want to appoint agents and other consultants straightaway to help draw up a vision that will be published early next year: Hence the publicity now.
The coalition government seems to be in a tearing rush to publish a planning green paper. The reason is that the "localism" beloved of both the Tories and the Lib-Dems is going to be included. Government sources say that pretty much all the promised policies of the Conservatives will be in the Green Paper - including the highly contentious "third party" right of appeal. They also say if enough pressure is applied, the idea will be quietly junked.
But the bit that is causing real despair among the house building fraternity is the junking of the regional bodies which ensured local authorities delivered on housing targets. Both the regional bodies and the targets are certain to go. Despite new housing minister Grant Shapps promise to let councils keep tax revenues from new developments for six years, it is now grimly accepted that housing starts in the south east are set to crash as rich-enough NIMBY councils say no.