5 March 2015
From left: Tim Holden, Head of UK Region, WYG; Andrew Whitaker, Planning Director, Home Builders Federation; Martin Hawthorne, Southampton Office Director, WYG.
Andrew Whitaker, Planning Director of the Home Builders Federation, was the keynote speaker at a Business Breakfast, entitled “Planning for the Election”, organised by WYG in Southampton on Wednesday 4 March.
An illustrious figure in the industry, with extensive experience of working for local government and private practice, he shared his insights into the likely outcome of the forthcoming General Election. He described the short term effect that the General Election is having on planning decisions in the pre-election period, and the different policy approaches of the main political parties to planning and house-building.
According to Whitaker, the planning system is now showing signs of beginning to operate more successfully, following the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). He also commented that, regardless of the make-up of the next Government, the planning system required stability, not a further radical change.
Tim Holden, WYG’s Head of UK Region, also addressed the audience of about eighty clients, mostly representing the house-building industry in the region. He explained how WYG had evolved from an engineering business into a multi-disciplinary international consultancy. He provided the company’s perspective on strategic opportunities at a national level for WYG to support its clients in delivering national infrastructure and housing objectives – which he argued should be closely linked.
The event was hosted by Martin Hawthorne, Director of WYG’s Southampton office, who described the range of consultancy services offered locally and the recent expansion of the Planning team to 17 professional staff.
The Business Breakfast is an annual event held traditionally in the spring. Following the opening of WYG’s new Southampton office on the Botleigh Grange Office Campus, Hedge End in August 2014, this year’s gathering was held at the Botleigh Grange Hotel which is also on the campus.