An expert North East planner has welcomed some of the Prime Minister’s “new deal” pledges to encourage development, but urged the Government to go further for the region.

James Hall, partner at planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore, said: “The “build, build, build” mantra should be welcome news to the North East, but the Prime Minister’s announcement should be more ambitious for our regions.

“His focus on the delivery of new homes is welcome, as is bringing forward investment in road and rail infrastructure – a key determiner of our region’s prosperity.

“The proposed £12bn affordable homes programme is positive and will support the delivery of new homes, however we were already promised this in the Chancellor’s March Budget.

“The North of Tyne Combined Authority’s share of the £400m Brownfield Land Fund is good news, but we believe the Government should go much further here – the £24m offered equates to only £8m to each local authority area.

“The renewed focus on permitted development rights to turn commercial buildings in town centres into housing, is only tinkering around the edges. To deliver meaningful economic growth the Government must look at measures to enable much bigger volumes of good quality housing.

“We’re awaiting with interest the mooted measures to speed up major applications. At the moment it can take a year to get outline consent, and expediting that process could significant positive impact in our region.”