New planning reforms set to dismantle housebuilding process

George Osbourne’s announcement of the new housing reforms on the 10th July 2015 unveiled a host of new measures in order to bolster the housebuilding process, by reforming the planning system.

The new proposals set in place allow automatic planning permission to be granted on many brownfield sites in England. Major projects in the housing industry could be fast tracked, along with rules on extensions in London relaxed.

The reforms also feature the development of planning powers allocated to mayors in London and Manchester, while enhanced compulsory purchase powers are set to enable more brownfield land to be made vacant for development.

Along with other reforms, there is also an introduction of new sanctions for councils that aren’t dealing with planning applications efficiently; the Government being able to intervene in councils’ local development plans.

The projects that require parliamentary approval build on promises in the Conservative manifesto to improve the utilisation of brownfield sites, which had previously been developed yet are not vacant or derelict.

The promise made within the Conservative Party’s election campaign proposed the building of over 275,000 affordable homes during their current parliament, whilst also creating a brownfield fund to unlock homes on brownfield land for additional housing.

The Tories also want to ensure that 90% of eligible and suitable brownfield sites have sufficient planning permission for housing by 2020.

The British Property Federation (BPF) has hailed the reforms as revolutionary. However they will need improved funding for local authority planning departments to be effective. Following this statement, the BPF has also picked up on the Government’s tunnel vision approach on owner-occupied housing, suggesting on the forefront that more rental accommodation should be provided.

What does this mean for conveyancers?

With the proposals discussed in Osbourne’s reforms, it is expected that the housing market will reach new heights by trying to balance the current crisis of supply and demand. If the building on brownfield sites goes ahead, conveyancers across the UK could experience a boost in new clients, making the future look bright.

What are your thoughts on the housebuilding reforms? Is this the best way the UK can strike a balance between supply and demand, with an effective use of land?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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