New Planning Freedoms to Boost House Building

Chancellor George Osborne’s blueprint to speed the planning process and make it easier for developers to build more new homes has been welcomed by the house building industry.

The Government’s policy document “Fixing the Foundations: Creating a More Prosperous Nation” sets out the new planning freedoms, including:

  • introducing a new zonal system which will effectively give automatic permission on suitable brownfield sites.
  • bringing forward proposals for stronger, fairer compulsory purchase powers to help bring forward more brownfield land for development.
  • taking tougher action to ensure that local authorities are using their powers to get local plans in place with powers for the Government to intervene to arrange for local plans to be written where necessary.

Read the full document here

Stewart Baseley executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation said: “The lack of available developable land and delays in- and cost of- the planning system are the biggest barrier to the country building the homes it needs.

“If the industry is to increase supply closer to the level needed we need more land to come through the system more quickly. Speeding up the rate at which planning applications on previously developed land are processed; and closing the gap between central government ambition and local authority performance is key.”

The Federation of Master Builders Brian Berry said freeing up more land for development would stimulate growth and help solve the housing crisis.

“For some time, the whole construction industry has been challenging the Government to solve the housing crisis at its root cause: supply. Ministers’ renewed focus on supply will in turn improve affordability, which is another top priority for the current Government.”

“Housing has for too long been put in a separate box from economic development, infrastructure needs and productivity.’

However press reports also have suggested that some people in the industry are sceptical about how the changes can really make a difference to the speed of new homes delivery or improved housing quality.  See Construction News: “Government planning reforms ‘much ado about nothing’.

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