Housing White Paper Published
The Housing White Paper ‘Fixing our broken housing market’ has been hailed by the Government as a seismic shift in addressing our housing crisis; radical plans to try and accelerate homebuilding, long lasting reform, changes to planning and investment. On the face of it, it is far less revolutionary. There is a widely-held suspicion that the Government has bottled-out of applying more radical changes, particularly in terms of housing land supply in Green Belt commuter settlements, which clearly restricts the ability to meet housing targets around major cities.
Addressing homeownership and issues of affordability are not new to the agenda of political leaders. In the main, the Housing White Paper is a reinforcement of existing Government strategy prioritising brownfield sites, simplifying Local Plans and ensuring they are kept up to date, protecting Green Belt designations except in exceptional circumstances, making the best possible use of land within capacity limits and giving more control to local communities. There are however, a range of ideas and amended policy wording, which go further and hint at a subtle change in approach, with the potential to increase opportunities in both the short and longer term.
It is our view, that while there will be continuing tensions between the need for housing and communities’ willingness to accept development, regular review of housing supply and delivery; increased funding for local authority planning departments; and a tool-kit of measures to boost delivery all have significant potential to benefit developers and landowners.
P&DG take a pro-active approach in terms of new and emerging legislation and we are eager to maximise opportunities for both new and existing clients. From our review, the key points of the Housing White Paper are:
Local and Neighbourhood Planning
Maintaining a plan-led approach;
Possibility to fix housing land supply;
Funds for local planning authorities providing opportunities for increased speed and regularity of determining applications.
Renewed weight of Neighbourhood Plans;
Neighbourhoods to have more control over development in their local area.
Building on Brownfield Land and Protecting Green Belt Land
It remains that amendments to Green Belt boundaries should only take place when all other options have been explored;
Reminded that the Green Belt boundaries can be changed
Not all of the Green Belt typifies attractive countryside
Further encourage the priority of building on brownfield land within settlements.
Speeding Up Housing Delivery
Reforming the system of developer contributions;
Increase nationally set planning fees;
Potential to introduce planning appeal fees;
Streamlining the licensing process for protected species;
Use of compulsory purchase powers to support the build out of stalled sites;
Reducing the default period to implement a permission;
Opportunities to consider the development track record of applicants.
Diversification of the House-Building Market
Funding support for small to medium sized builders;
Support for custom build homes;
Encouraged build-to-rent opportunities, with longer tenancies;
Support for Housing Associations to build more homes;
Support joint venture models;
Help to Buy equity loans.
The Housing White Paper is in part a statement of intent and in part a consultation. Its full implications will only emerge as secondary legislation is brought forward in the coming months. Of course, P&DG will keep you informed of all relevant matters and timescales.
If you wish to understand any aspects of the Housing White Paper further, then please contact P&DG’s Planning Team to discuss. We can provide detail and insight on the practical implications of the changes as well as offering strategic advice that is specific to you.
You are invited to attend our free seminar on the Housing White Paper on Friday 24 March 2017 at 8.30am, where detailed analysis of the opportunities arising from the paper will be shared and discussed. You can reserve your place now!