Sajid Javid sets out latest proposals to “speed up housing delivery”

A new consultation setting out a number of proposals to reform the planning system (again!!) to increase the supply of new homes and increase local authority capacity to manage growth has been published by the Government. Proposals include:

  • a standard method for calculating local authorities’ housing need
  • how neighbourhood planning groups can have greater certainty on the level of housing need to plan for
  • a statement of common ground to improve how local authorities work together to meet housing and other needs across boundaries
  • making the use of viability assessments simpler, quicker and more transparent
  • increased planning application fees in those areas where local planning authorities are delivering the homes their communities need

Click here to read more information on the Government consultation Planning for the right homes in the right places: consultation proposals

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid points out that councils spend an estimated £3 million in taxpayers’ money every year on employing consultants to work out how many new homes are needed in their area. Long legal disputes over these figures when preparing local plans can also lead to unnecessary delays and add to the costs. The consultation is proposing a single methodology. The Government believe that the proposed changes will help boost housing supply and improve affordability and help ensure councils work to a consistent approach to plan for more homes in the right places.

Javid said" ‘This is a crucial first step in solving the country’s housing crisis. As anyone who has tried to buy or rent a home recently would probably tell you, the housing market in this country is broken. The simple truth is that for far too long we haven’t built enough homes and we don’t build them quickly enough. It’s time to fix that. This new approach will cut the unnecessarily complex and lengthy debates that can delay house building. It will make sure we have a clear and realistic assessment of how many new homes are needed, and ensure local communities have a voice in deciding where they go,’ he added.

The Government has pledged to deliver a million homes by the end of 2020 and a further half a million more by the end of 2022 and Javid said that action to date has helped to stabilise the market and turn the tide of the economic downturn.

Civic Voice will continue to press that:-

  • Government policies, such as those on permitted development should be revisited immediately as they are undermining large parts of town centres across England
  • There is no way to enforce either design standards or achieve strategic planning objectives given the current permitted development policies which have tied the hands of planning officers.
  • There is a real need for local communities to feel confident that their wishes are given full weight if they have undertaken the hefty task of producing a Neighbourhood Plan.
  • Big developers with major resources are still seen to be able to challenge and override.
  • Support for smaller developers and for self build is essential to break the stranglehold of the bigger developers.
  • We also believe that in the amount of housing needed the NPPF needs to be able to look at empty properties - especially over commercial premises and support the improvement of town and city centres rather than the pressure all being on green field sites.
  • We continue to be concerned that Government policies are ‘nibbling away’ at the Green Belt and the erosion of established Green Belt is leading to inevitable pressure to amend Green Belt boundaries.     
  • Finally, as in much of current housing thinking there is very little about social housing and affordable housing.

This consultation will begin on Thursday 14 September and will run for 8 weeks until Thursday 9 November 2017