A new Housing and Planning bill has highlighted the government’s ambition to build 1 million new homes by 2020, as well as set a deadline for local councils to provide a local plan.
At present 82% of local councils have published local plans setting out how many homes they plan to deliver, however, only 65% have fully adopted them. Furthermore, almost 20% of councils do not have an up to date local plan at all.
The new bill will aim to improve these figures by setting a deadline of 2017 to produce a local plan. Failure to do so will result in the government consulting with local people to produce one for them, with David Cameron saying:
“If they fail to act, we’ll work with local people to produce a plan for them”
Other proposals set out by the bill in order to boost home building and ownership include a legal duty on councils to guarantee the delivery of Starter Homes and to promote the scheme to first time buyers.
David Cameron explains:
‘The government will do everything it can to help people buy a place of their own and at the heart of this is our ambition to build one million new homes by 2020. Many areas are doing this already but we need a national crusade to get homes built and everyone must play their part”
The new legislation will also incorporate automatic planning permission in principle on brownfield sites, enabling as many homes as possible to be built whilst protecting green belt land.
Cameron has also announced that a temporary rule that was introduced in May 2013 that allowed disused offices to be converted into residential properties without planning permission, will be made permanent after more than 4,000 conversions were given the go ahead between April 2014 and June 2015.
One supporter of the new bill is Jeremy Blackburn, head of policy at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors who explains:
“It is good to see these now coming forward in the Bill. Some sites have been locked up for too long and these measures, coupled with a brownfield register and fund, will get them moving. While these new measures build on the National Planning Policy Framework and are welcome, the system needs to really pick up speed in order to deliver the vibrant property sector on which the success of our economy depends.”
The Chief Executive of the British Property Foundation also supports the bill:
“Measures to ensure local plans be put in place by 2017 will bring much needed certainty for potential investors and provide a catalyst for growth. Our members focus on brownfield opportunities and so measures that bring more land forward will also be warmly supported”
BT www.propertysurveying.co.uk 10.10.15