The much trailed Housing White paper was unveiled on Tuesday by the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid. “Fixing our broken housing market paper” ( not a title welcomed by housebuilders) re-iterates the Government’s commitment to increasing housing supply.
Whilst building in the Green Belt had been expected to be a main plank of paper there were no radical plans to alter or amend the approach to development on greenbelt sites.
As expected the white paper subtly, or not so subtly, emphasises a wider approach to tenure promoting rented housing including both affordable and Private Rented Sector accommodation.
In terms of planning the Government have reiterated their encouragement for housing developers to move to quickly execute sites with planning permission. The detail is somewhat missing with regards to whether or not the new 2 year rule (planning approval to SOS) will apply to sites with outline planning or from the sign off of detailed conditions.
There seems to be more encouragement to enable councils to build their own homes however the details are yet to be announced. The sector is calling for a relaxation of the HRA borrowing rules but it is not yet clear that this is the direction of travel for the government.
The paper indicates that the Government are prepared to offer rent certainty in exchange for greater output from the HA sector and calls for the sector to improve efficiency to release further resources to support new development.
The drive for more homes is supported by a pledge to stimulate the growth of offsite construction through the Accelerated Construction Programme and the Home Builders Fund. This is welcomed by ARK and by CHIC (www.chicltd.co.uk) . CHIC is shortly going to the market with a 15 year contract for modular homes in a bid to change the face of housing delivery.
A number of changes have also been announced relating to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
Consultation closes on 2 May and you can find details of the White Paper here