Housing Minister announces a raft of planning reforms

By Chris Seeley · 16 March 2020

Following the budget announcement last week, the Housing Minister released the ‘Planning for the future’ report including a raft of planning reforms aimed to speed up the rate at which developments are built.

We have put together a summary of the key elements of the report:

Supporting communities to deliver more homes for local people

The Government looks to introduce new tools to support communities to densify and make best use of their underutilised brownfield land. This involves:

  • Investing £400m to use brownfield land productively
  • Launching a national brownfield map and calls for proposals for building above stations
  • Reviewing the formula for calculating Local Housing need – Government will introduce new permitted development rights for building upwards on existing buildings in summer 2020
  • Supporting community and self-build housing
  • Backing the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, including a new spatial framework and up to 4 new development corporations.
  • Setting a deadline for all Local Authorities to have an up-to-date local plan
  • Continuing to drive supply through the Housing Delivery Test
  • Reforming the New Homes Bonus to reward delivery
  • Investing another £1.1bn in local infrastructure to unlock 70,000 homes and a new £10bn Single Housing Infrastructure Fund.

In Spring 2020, the Government will publish the Planning White Paper which proposes measures to accelerate planning, maximise the potential of new technologies and make it easier for communities to understand the planning system.  The Government wants to provide a planning system that supports beautiful design and meet challenges of climate change as well as building homes that the country needs. As a part of this the government will:

  • Reform planning fees to create a world-class planning service
  • Automatic rebates where planning applications are successful to appeal
  • Ensure land for housing is built out
  • Expand the use of zoning tools to support development
  • Improve the effectiveness, take up and role of Compulsory Purchase Orders to help facilitate land assembly and infrastructure delivery.

Helping first time buyers onto the housing ladder

To support more people into home ownership the Government will:

  • Cut the cost of new homes through the new First Homes Scheme
  • Explore encouraging a market for long-term fixed mortgage rates
  • Make the route to ownership simpler and more affordable through a new national Shared Ownership Model.

Creating beautiful, sustainable places

The Government will take action to encourage more beautiful design and to ensure Local Authorities have the support they need to demand higher standards. The Government will:

  • Revise the National Planning Policy Framework to embed the principles of good design and placemaking
  • Respond the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission’s report
  • Alongside the £5.2bn investment in additional flood defences (announced in the Budget 2020), the Government looks to review its policy for building in areas at flood risk.
  • Introduce a Future Homes Standard (FHS) – from 2025 the FHS will require up to 80% lower carbon emissions in all new homes
  • Establish a Net Zero development in Toton in the East Midlands.

Ensuring affordable, safe and secure housing for all

In order to achieve affordable, safe and secure homes the Government will:

  • Renew its commitment to Affordable Housing – In the Budget 2020 a 5-year investment of £12bn was announced
  • Publish the Social Housing White Paper
  • A further £1bn available to support remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding in private and social residential buildings above 18 metres
  • Protecting new homeowners through the New Homes Ombudsman
  • Ensuring that renters are treated fairly through the Renters’ Reform Bill
  • Commencing a review and pledging over £640m to end rough sleeping.

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