Rachel Reeves, HM Treasury, c Kirsty O'Connor for HM Treasury, via CC BY NC ND . bit.ly SLASH heHCq

Chancellor Rachel Reeves: 'With these steps we have done more to unblock the planning system in the last 72 hours than the last government did in 14 years.' Credit: Kirsty O'Connor for HM Treasury, via CC BY NC ND . bit.ly/40heHCq

Rachel Reeves vows to fix planning – including ‘stalled’ Liverpool site

Describing the current system as a “graveyard of economic ambition”, the new chancellor said planning reform was at the centre of Labour’s strategy going forward.

“Nowhere is decisive reform needed more urgently than in the case of our planning system,” chancellor Rachel Reeves told a crowd on Monday.

During her speech, she spoke firmly about her ambitions for the future, saying time and time again: “There is no time to waste”.

As part of her vision for the future, housing targets will be restored as part of a new, growth-focussed National Planning Policy Framework. This reformed NPPF will be consulted on before the end of the month.

She is also setting up a task force to accelerate stalled housing sites across the country. This, in Reeves’ words, includes Liverpool Central Docks. This is part of Peel’s Liverpool Waters scheme and comprises 2,350 homes and a nearly five-acre park. Planning permission for site preparation work was secured in March 2023.

Chris Capes, director of development for Liverpool Waters, said: “It is great to hear that the new chancellor of the exchequer has Central Docks on her radar and is looking to accelerate the delivery of a highly sustainable housing community, delivering thousands of homes as well as creating one of Liverpool’s largest new green spaces. The team at Peel Waters welcome any opportunity to work in partnership with the new government to drive forward the waterfront regeneration of Liverpool’s northern docklands.”

Cetral Park wet woodland CGI Peel LP p planning

Central Park, masterplanned by Planit, is one aspect of the Central Docks project. Credit: via planning documents

Reeves added that she has now ended the ban on onshore wind in England and will consider bringing onshore wind back into the national infrastructure regime, effectively taking it out of the hands of local authorities.

Energy projects are to be prioritised going forward, Reeves said. She also noted that deputy prime minister Angela Rayner has committed to keeping an eye on major infrastructure projects that offer opportunities for further investment – including deciding on two data centre applications already.

Rayner is also preparing to write to local authorities, instructing them to commence rethinking Green Belt boundaries and reminding them of the requirement to have an up-to-date local plan.

Reeves has also released funds for the hiring of 300 planning officers across the country, a number that sounds good but will not even provide one new officer for every local authority (there are 317).

She stressed that this Labour government was ready to make the hard decisions when it came to helping the country grow.

“The question is not whether we want growth, but how strong is our resolve,” she said.

This includes pushing back against NIMBYS. Reeves noted that to get the country building again it needs to acknowledge that trade-offs exist, such as damaging environmental impacts.

“We will not succumb to a status quo that responds to the existence of trade-offs by always saying ‘no’,” she said. When pressed about whether she was declaring war on NIMBYs, Reeves stated that local communities would still have a role to play in deciding where housing gets built – but they need to acknowledge that the housing needs to be built.

Doubling down on the manifesto promise to build 1.5m homes over the next five years, Reeves stressed that the new government was one that “respects business, wants to partner with business, and is open for business”.

“Be in no doubt,” she added later. “We are going to get Britain building again.”

Your Comments

Read our comments policy

Great she has highlighted Liverpool Central Docks. Peels progress has been painfully slow and creating envy as other sites of Peels empire seem to be flourishing while Liverpool has stalled.
Hopefully this will change for the better.

By Liverpolitis

Great to see the announcement on Liverpool central docks , a great site opens up the land between the Isle of Man terminal and the new Everton stadium. Mind you need two small bridges over the dock entrances by the dockers clock . Hopefully this announcement also shows this labour government will give Liverpool some priority. The city region only really has 3 influential MPs the Eagles and Alison McGovern….they need to fight hard fir the city region

By George

Help with the infrastructure will no doubt unlock the Central Docks. Where have LCC and the Combined Authority been for the last 5 years


There is the Infinity stalled site but is that classed as Central Docks, can’t really think of any other stalled sites there , unless they mean the lack of progress by Peel. Do we know if anything is in planning and being held up by the planners even before the application has been officially submitted. The Romal development at Waterloo Dock was a prime example of the awkwardness of Liverpool planning which held up and finally dismissed by councillors and planners until it was appealed and passed by the Secretary of State’s officer.

By Anonymous

    Hi Anonymous! The site in question is the Peel one as well – not one we would have considered “stalled” at PNW either. I imagine we’ll see some big news about that soon.

    By Julia Hatmaker

Its just words. The only way this country has ever built enough homes, and the only way it ever will, is for the state to do it.

By Martin Cranmer

Yet she has plans to hike capital gains taxes, taxes on foreign investors and keep businesses taxes high – all of which will kill of any growth she hopes for

By Stuart wood

Further announcement this week is the news on the street

By Liverpool4Progress

Great, more housing on the docks – going for 200k for a two bed apartment with £250 a month service charges – completely unaffordable for most people, Liverpool city centre and its surroundings have no shortage of these overpriced accommodation already.

By Ann

Woohoo! This is the news I want to hear! Now NIMBYs go away!

By Anonymous

Flats are not homes, homes are houses with rooms for families, gardens and cars

By Dan

@July 09, 2024 at 8:39 am
By Dan

This is incorrect. Homes are places that feel homely to the resident, have soul and have character embedded in their design, whether that’s a house, an apartment, mansion or a terraced house.

By Anonymous

@July 08, 2024 at 1:42 pm
By Stuart wood

Please enlighten me on these plans Stuart.

Besides, IEA-style economics died in Thetford last Thursday.

By Anonymous

@ Dan, surely you have travelled, even to central London , and seen people who live in flats quite happily, or go to Paris, Madrid etc where people love their flats and inner-city living.
@Ann , if you cannot afford a home on the docklands then there is enough cheaper housing in Kirkdale, Everton,Walton, or Bootle, it seems to me you don’t approve of people being able to afford more costly housing , and you prefer everything to be Levelled Down.

By Anonymous

I’ve lived in London, in a house, with a garden, and most people in Spain and France live in houses, with outside space and many who live in flats in those countries do so because it’s all they can afford

By Dan

Why did she single out Central Docks and not, for example, Chinatown, Infinity Towers or Fox Street?

By Anonymous

They should bury Leeds street under the ground in a tunnel and link the city to it’s northern hinterland. currenly the city center is surrounded by a moterway moat that stops it’s expansion and prevents pedestrians from moving around.

By Anonymous

Anon 2.52pm, Leeds St is a dual carriageway but is has a speed limit and crossing points, just like Queens Drive and I don’t see that as a barrier to people moving around. Our Capital City has busy wide roads,like Edgeware Rd,but that doesn’t stop expansion or moving from one side to the other, all we need is a Council that allows reliable developers a bit of slack and they will be keen to develop Leeds St, like Legacie are showing.

By Anonymous

Dan is right. Apartments/flats are not homes. Just good enough for singles or single mothers, but that is all. No wonder the UK population (minus immigrants) is falling fast. To create Places for People you must build people-centric communities, not tower blocks that have another, but also needed, societal function.

By James Yates

@ James Yates 9 July, that`s a funny viewpoint you have on flats/apartments ie that they can`t be for families, I`ve been in flats with 2,3, or more bedrooms. Funny too that in your comment you highlight single mothers and immigrants as they seem to be two groups that cause concern for you.
If you think that only houses guarantee harmony and happiness as places to live then you have a limited experience of life.

By Anonymous

The impression was that we would get some further announcement this week but it looks like Peel don’t know much about it either. It’s very early days and I want the visions for Liverpool Waters to happen, but fear that it could end up like Chinatown ,which was also talked up by the previous government, and is still a dormant site.

By Anonymous

@Dan, you clearly have not been to French or Spanish cities as nearly everyone lives in flats there.
Millions of people live happily in flats in dense communities, in this country too. And if we want to save the greenbelt, we need to build as dense as possible.

By Anonymous

So Steve Rotheram has now confirmed (Guardian) the Government will provide funding to kickstart the Central Docks project in Liverpool Waters. Will this mean for remediation works or actual construction of buildings, given that we’ve seen no actual plans submitted this could be a long way off. Do Peel have any developers lined up like Moda, Romal, or Vermont, as they probably won’t be putting their hands in their own pocket.

By Anonymous

Over on Wirral Waters Peel had been bigging up the £25m Maritime Hub and received praise from the last Government, now that has run aground .
Also the Hythe office building lauded by Peel but mostly funded by LCR and Wirral Council has now backfired on the Council who may be asked to stump up another £1.5m. Meanwhile the £20m Care Centre once again hyped by Peel has never happened. Are the new Government satisfied that Peel can deliver housing on Liverpool’s Central Docks.

By Anonymous

Related Articles

Sign up to receive the Place Daily Briefing

Join more than 13,000 property professionals and receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox


Join more than 13,000 property professionals and sign up to receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

"*" indicates required fields

Your Job Field*
Other regional Publications - select below