HBF Policy Conference 2022

12 May, 2022

FULL DAY CONFERENCE - 09.00 - 16.30 (including networking breakfast until 10am)

HBF POLICY CONFERENCE, 12th May 2022 - 1 Wimpole Street, London

The government’s planning reforms mark a “significant reform package” despite various proposals from the Planning White Paper being dropped, according to Matthew Spry, senior director of planning and consultancy firm Lichfields.

Speaking at the Home Builders Federation’s Policy Conference held in London yesterday (May 12), Spry said that the new Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, containing the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ (DLUHC) planning intentions in absence of an originally intended Planning Bill, no longer featured the “big zoning proposals” of the Planning White Paper consultation of 2020.

But, he said, “if you look objectively”, the government was still taking forward other white paper proposals as well as those included in the Housing White Paper of 2017.

The new Bill, set to introduce an Infrastructure Levy to replace section 106 agreements, design codes, methods to simplify local plans and “street votes”, would yield a “number” of consultations, Spry said. “There does seem to have been a perpetual revolution in planning for the last few years but the industry needs to be ready to engage in the debate on whether what’s proposed will deliver homes in the areas needed.”

He urged: “I implore you to look at these consultations as they will impact all of us.”

Also speaking at the conference, HBF’s Stewart Baseley gave an overview of the industry’s key challenges within a now tough environment, including building safety, nutrient neutrality, the environmental agenda and quality.

He noted levelling up secretary Michael Gove’s “far harder approach to homebuilders and homebuilding,” demonstrated by his approach to building and fire safety. “The rhetoric he uses is totally unacceptable in my view,” he stated. “I’ve told him to be more diplomatic; an image builds up in people’s minds of what the industry is like.”

But, despite the myriad policy hurdles to vault, “there are reasons to be cheerful,” Baseley concluded. “If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the industry has the skills, the tenacity and the determination. The industry will survive. There will be brighter times ahead.”

The conference also featured speeches from Neil Jefferson, HBF’s md, on HBF and the industry’s work on building safety, and Edward Lockhart, ceo of the Future Homes Hub, who outlined the work of the Hub so far on the industry’s response to the environmental agenda, including looking at “policy fixing” to address regulatory conflicts.

Speakers also analysed the housing market. Savills’ Lucian Cook and Emily Williams and David Livesey, Connells Group’s ceo, considered the headwinds gathering against the backdrop of an enduringly strong market.

James Stevens, HBF’s director for cities and Guy Thompson, group director, environmental futures – Wessex Water/En Trade, explored the escalating issue of nutrient neutrality. Stevens said HBF was pushing for a change in legislation to rectify the problem which is blocking planning permissions for thousands of homes.

And Steve Turner, HBF’s director of communications, charted the journey to the New Homes Quality Board and the next steps for ensuring better home quality and customer outcomes


John Pienaar
John Pienaar
Journalist & Broadcaster, CONFERENCE CHAIR
Stewart Baseley
Executive Chairman, HBF, Home Builders Federation (HBF)
mark aedy
Mark Aedy
MD, Moelis & Company
Emily Williams
Emily Williams
Associate Director - Residential Research, Savills
Matthew Spry
Matthew Spry
Senior Director, Lichfields
David Livesey
David Livesey
Group Chief Executive, Connells Group
Peter Freeman
Peter Freeman
Chair, Homes England
Lucian Cook
Lucian Cook
Head of Residential Research, Savills
David Cleary
David Cleary
Head of Housing, Lloyds
Guy Thompson
Group Director of Environmental Futures at Wessex Water and Managing Director of EnTrade, EnTrade
Ed Lockhart
Edward Lockhart
CEO, Future Homes Hub
Emma Toms
Emma Toms
Interim Chief Operating Officer, New Homes Quality Board


1 Wimpole Street, London W1G 0AE