Andreea Dulgheru, deputy editor for print

Are the new planning law proposals just a plaster on a bullet wound?

There is one thing that every expert in the specialist finance market agrees on: the UK needs more houses built.

However, that’s easier said than done. On top of the material and labour shortages and increased costs exacerbated by high inflation, planning delays have been plaguing developers and their profit margins. In a bid to solve this age-old problem, the government published the draft version of a new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) at the end of 2022 for consultation, in conjunction with the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill.

With this on the horizon—although when exactly this might happen is very much up in the air—it seemed fitting to dedicate our cover story to this particular subject. We gathered seven industry experts to discuss whether the proposed changes to the NPPF could be the sector’s saving grace, or whether it’s just a plaster on a bullet wound. We also revisit the subject of nutrient neutrality to see how much progress has been made since the unveiling of the government’s first mitigation scheme—and if we are truly heading in the right direction.

Sticking with the subject of planning, we take an in-depth look at a trend that has been gathering momentum across the world: 15-minute cities. After analysing the research, we discuss if these new communities are feasible, or just a pipedream.

Refurbishment has also been a popular topic of late, with many firms reporting an uptick in finance applications for these projects. Despite this, there still seem to be misconceptions when it comes to light and heavy refurbs, ones which we help to dispel. We also shine a spotlight on the arduous task of retrofitting historic buildings. With millions of historic and listed buildings across the UK, this is not a job for the faint-hearted; we delve into the complexities of such projects, from regulation and techniques, all the way to the hefty costs. 

Of course, this B&C Magazine issue would not be complete without interviews with some of the top stalwarts in our industry. This time, we sit down with OSB Group’s new head of specialist finance Marc Callaghan to find out his plans for the firm. Plus, we take a trip down memory lane with Glenhawk’s founder and CEO Guy Harrington to uncover his eclectic career, his reasons for launching the lender, and his surprising passion for all things on wheels.

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