The Housing Secretary’s Ambitious Future Building Plans

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced big plans to bring Britain’s building industry into the 21st century.

In order to get the country building, Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP has unveiled proposals to bring the country’s planning system up to date.

The proposals set out to encourage developers to build upwards and above stations; utilise brownfield sites to make the most of unused land; and to consider turning disused buildings into homes more quickly.

The Government revealed that they will dedicate £400m for Mayoral Combined Authorities and local areas to develop brownfield land across the UK to build more houses – by launching a register of brownfield sites next month.

Randeesh Sandhu, chief executive of Urban Exposure, said:

“We’re really pleased there’s been a focus on innovating the planning process and cash committed to bringing brownfield sites forward for development – both of which will assist developers across the country to build more, faster.”

A spokeswoman for developer Godwin Developments, said: “We are delighted to hear that the government has pledged £400m towards the repurposing of brownfield sites across cities and towns.”

Councils have also been inspired to take a more pioneering approach when building homes, to guarantee to rejuvenate high streets by building upwards, above and around stations.

An incentivisation will also be introduced by the Government to those places who deliver on the number of houses needed in their areas.

It will be mandatory for all local authorities to have up to date Local Plans in place by the end of 2023, otherwise the Government will intervene to make sure there are enough homes being built in their communities.

These changes in building planning will take precedence over an ambitious planning white paper which proposes to completely restructure the planning system in order to quicken decisions on when and where houses can be built.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

“I want everyone, no matter where they live, to have access to affordable, safe, quality housing and live in communities with a real sense of place – as part of our mission to level up, unite and unleash the potential of this country.

“We must think boldly and creatively about the planning system to make it fit for the future, and this is just the first step, so we can deliver the homes communities need and help more young people onto the ladder.”

This follows on from an announcement made in the Budget to help more people get on the housing ladder by building more inexpensive homes and speed up the process to ensure the government’s target of 300,000 homes a year is met to meet the country’s need.

It was revealed that a further £1 billion will be made available to help produce almost 70,000 new homes and produce a new £10 billion Single Housing Infrastructure Fund to give confidence amongst the public, local authorities and developers that the structural framework they required completed before the building commences.

In addition, it was broadcasted that £12 billion will be invested to build more affordable homes, which is the largest cash injection for affordable housing in a decade.

This new Affordable Homes Programme scheme will bring in more affordable housing, helping more first-time buyers to own their own home through the government’s home ownership programmes such as Right to Shared Ownership.

It is proposed to also aid the construction of more social rent homes to support those most at risk of homelessness.

Andy Sommerville, Director at Search Acumen, comments on the Housing Secretary’s plans:

“The plans announced today by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick are comprehensive and far ranging – which may be the stimulus needed to throw off England’s housebuilding torpor.

“We particularly welcome the government’s decision to continue Esther McVey’s initiative for building a brownfield data bank. Maximising the space for development in urban areas is key if we are to prevent a two tier system of housing in this country where rural areas are oversupplied with affordable housing but with no buyers, and densely populated cities become housing deserts for those who want to buy somewhere affordable.

“However, effective data management protocols will be essential to underpin these brownfield registries, and this is where the Government could have done more to anticipate changes to the way we buy, sell, and build. After all, what is the point of creating a valuable resource if developers and property lawyers cannot access what they need when they need it?

“Compelling local authorities to expedite their planning processes could have some benefits but using 20th Century methods to accommodate a 21st Century population may well just produce more pressure in an already congested system. Instead, helping to centralise property data, digitalise the LLC system and increase automation will help reduce the time it takes to secure permission, better inform which land can be developed and speed up the rate at which they are sold. If we want to build for the future, we can do better than the tools of the past.”

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