A year of radical planning shake-ups

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 2020 review: government faced resistance to its attempts to tackle the housing shortage through planning changes

A turbulent year in planning policy began on a consensual enough note, with the publication of the Building Better, Building Beautiful report on improving housing design, which garnered both political and much industry support. Then came a cautious planning reform consultation in early March, which barely hinted at the controversy to come.

The calm was demolished in May, however, with the news that housing secretary Robert Jenrick had admitted to “apparent bias” in approving a controversial 1,524-home east London scheme promoted by a Tory donor, in defiance of official advice. But despite calls to resign after former Express Newspapers proprietor Richard Desmond was shown to have personally lobbied Jenrick, the housing secretary kept his job.

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