The Housing and Planning Bill has come forward only days following the announcement that an agreement has been reached with housing associations to extend the Right to Buy to 1.3 million more tenants from as early as the start of 2016.
A number of measures in the Bill set out to help the government reach its target of delivering one million new homes by 2020. Key among them are the following…
Local Plans – The Bill includes measures forcing local authorities to produce Local Plans by 2017, or face intervention from government. Only 65% have fully adopted Local Plans at present and therefore it will be a source of concern for some. An expert panel lead by Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis MP has already made a call for evidence to examine how the process may be simplified. If a council does not produce a Local Plan by 2017, the government will work directly with local people to create one.
New affordable Starter Homes – Councils will need to ensure delivery of Starter Homes on all new development sites that are large enough, and to promote the scheme to first-time buyers
Automatic planning permission in principle on brownfield sites – The Bill includes steps presented in July’s Fixing the Foundations report, including automatic planning permission in principle on brownfield sites
Planning reforms to support small builders – This includes directing Councils to allocate land for those who wish to build their own homes
Selling off high value vacant assets – The proceeds of this initiative will be reinvested in building more affordable homes
Permitted Development – Also, the loosening of Permitted Development restrictions, announced in May 2013, which allows the conversion of offices into homes without planning permission, will be made permanent under the Bill
The delivery of new homes is at the top of the current national political agenda and Redwood will be monitoring forthcoming announcements. Follow @Redwoodcomms for our latest updates.