Government attempts to invigorate housebuilding

05 Mar 2018

During a speech on the housing market this morning, Theresa May admitted that people, particularly younger people, have a right to be angry about the rising cost of housing. May said:

"In much of the country, housing is so unaffordable that millions of people who would reasonably expect to buy their own home are unable to do so...The root cause of the crisis is simple. For decades this country has failed to build enough of the right homes in the right places"

Whilst confirming continued protection of the Green Belt, May challenged housebuilders to deliver the permissions granted to them by Councils. She warned that housebuilders who do not make use of their permissions may have this used against them in the determination of planning applications. The new proposals are set out in a major reform of the National Planning Policy Framework, key measures introduced include

  • A standardised methodology for calculating housing need
  • A standardised approach to Viability Assessments
  • Ability for Councils to impose a condition requiring the development to begin within a timescale shorter than 3 years (or other relevant period)
  • Requirement for Councils to monitor housing delivery and prepare an action plan where delivery falls below 95% of their housing requirement over 3 years
  • Further emphasis on making an efficient use of land

The speech was criticised by the Local Government Association, who said that the Government was wrong to blame low rates of housebuilding on Councils. The LGA has requested that the Government increases the amount Councils can borrow in order that they are able to build more social housing.

The changes announced during the speech are covered in two major consultations on Government planning policy. A draft text of the revised National Planning Policy Framework has been published for consultation until 10 May. This is joined by a consultation on reforming developer contributions to affordable housing and infrastructure.

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