It’s time to respond to the government’s aims for planning in the UK
The government has released more details of its plans to revamp planning in England. It wants to speed up the process as it attempts to drive housebuilding to 300,000 new homes each year by the mid-2020s. All market participants can have their say through the consultation process, which closes on 10th May 2018.
In this article, we outline the main points of the announcement made by Housing Secretary Sajid Javid.
Planning permissions to be fast-tracked
The government wants planning permissions to be fast-tracked. It believes that this is the major bottleneck that is holding back building new homes. To accomplish this, the government is planning a major overhaul of the National Planning Policy Framework. This aims to:
- Get local authorities and property developers working together
- Include community groups to ensure that people and businesses affected by new developments have their say
Local authorities to be targeted on the delivery of new homes and not numbers planned
There will be a new housing test. This will focus on local authorities delivering new homes instead of the numbers of new homes planned.
Developers will also be targeted for the delivery of new home numbers
It is not only local authorities that will be targeted on new home deliveries – so too will property developers. The targets here will include delivery of commitments, including infrastructure and affordable housing.
Making brownfield land easier to access
Local authorities will be encouraged to release brownfield land for redevelopment, especially to build high-density housing.
Councils will be expected to free up underutilised commercial, retail, and industrial space to provide housing.
Protecting the green belt – building up, not out
Another aim of freeing up more brownfield land is to help preserve the green belt. Councils will be given greater freedom to allow developers to build up rather than out – like the ‘two extra storeys’ regulations being introduced in London.
Developers will have to prove their case
Developers will need to show that there is a positive environmental impact on its developments (especially where building up) and that developments protect ancient woodlands for future generations.
Building for the first-time buyer
Local authorities and developers will be expected to provide more developments for first-time buyers. There will also be a provision for an increase in the build-to-rent sector offering family-friendly tenancies, and affordable homes for key workers.
The gap between homes planned and homes delivered will be cut
The government wants to close the gap between homes planned and homes built. To aid this, a new approach to assessing the number of homes needed will be introduced. This should make it clearer for property developers to understand needs and what is expected of them. Councils will have greater authority to hold property developers to their commitments.
Can the NPPF deliver on its goals?
In delivering the announcement, Sajid Navid said, “An entire generation is being locked out of a broken housing market as prices and rents race ahead of supply. Reforming the planning system is the crucial next step to building the homes the country needs.
“This government is determined to fix the broken housing market and restore the dream of homeownership for a new generation. There is no silver bullet to this problem, but we’re re-writing the rules on planning so we can take action on all fronts. In moving to a more integrated society, the focus for everyone, whether a developer or a neighbourhood group, must be to come together to build the homes our communities deserve.”
It’s a noble mission, but several questions immediately spring to mind:
- Is the UK in a position to deliver?
- What sites are best for local authorities to release to provide a boost to the delivery of homes?
- How will small and medium-sized developers be supported to deliver?
- Will red tape reduce enough to enable more rapid development of homes?
- Shouldn’t public sector land be more readily freed for development?
We suspect that developers will want to take part in the consultation process. To read the consultation documents and respond, click the link below:
We’d love to know what you think, too. Call the Castlereach team on 0207 923 5680, and together let’s give momentum to the views of the property development community.
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