“Planning for the Future” document published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, 12th March 2020 reinforces that the Government is committed to continue to increase the number of homes built, to support home ownership to deliver a rental system that is fit for the modern day.

The Government is therefore committed to improve the existing rental system and protect tenants and supports landlords to provide the homes the nation needs, prevent people from falling into homelessness.

Starting from Spring, the Government aims to introduce a number of bills and legislations which will form a bedrock of a housing strategy expected to be published later this year. These will include:

  • Planning White Paper,
  • Building Safety Bill,
  • Renter’s Reform Bill and,
  • Social Housing White Paper.

The Government aim to modernise the planning system to ensure it supports the delivery of homes and create more beautiful and greener communities.

Spring 2020 – Planning White Paper

  • “To establish a planning system that works for the next century”
  • Review planning rules to support local areas to plan – especially in the urban areas
  • Propose to accelerate planning decision making
  • Easier for communities to engage in decision making which affects them.
  • A number of reforms to encourage local authorities to take a more proactive approach to enable house building e.g. innovative options, such as housing-led regeneration of high streets, building upwards, densifying gently in existing residential areas and an emphasis on brownfield land.

The budget announced an additional £10.9 billion of funding to support communities regenerate brownfield land, new infrastructure etc

Pegasus Group picked out 21 key points from the “Planning for the Future” paper through which the Government aims to achieve its aims. These are summarised as follows:

1) Brownfield Land

Backing Brownfield Land developments by launching a national brownfield map in April 2020 and a call for building above stations; and investing £400m to maximize the delivery of homes on brownfield land;

2) Local Housing Need

Reviewing the formula for calculating Local Housing Need to meet 300,000 new homes a year target;

3) Increasing height, density and maximising the development opportunities

Introducing new rules to increase the density and height of the proposals and consulting on new Permitted Development Rights to allow vacant commercial buildings, industrial buildings and residential blocks to be demolished and replaced with new “well-designed” residential units;

4) Self-Build housing

Supporting community and self-build housing;

5) Oxford Cambridge Arc

Supporting the Oxford-Cambridge Arc project by introducing a new spatial framework up to 2050 and up to 4 new development corporations;

6) Local Plans Deadline

Ensuring all local authorities will have an up-to-date Local Plan in place by December 2023 otherwise intervene on a case by case basis;

7) Housing Delivery Test

Committing to raise the Housing Delivery Test threshold to 75% in November 2020;

8) New Homes Bonus

Rewarding the authorities who strive to build more homes by ensuring access to greater funding and services; there will be a consultation in the Spring 2020 on reforming the NHB to incentivise greater delivery;

9) £1.1Bn investment in local infrastructure to unlock almost 70,000 new homes

Ensuring infrastructure-first approach to ensure a sufficient infrastructure is put in place so that new developments do not put a strain on local services. The budget will cover new roads, transport links, flood defences, leisure and healthcare facilities, digital and power networks and schools;

10) New £10Bn Single Housing Infrastructure Fund

In line with the Conservative manifesto, the government aims to ensure there is a flexible long-term fund for infrastructure investment; details to be announced alongside the Spending Review;

11) Reforms to speed up the planning system

Government aims to accelerate the planning system whilst ensuring it provides the right amount of support to beautiful design, tackling climate change and meeting housing needs across the country. The Planning White Paper to be published in Spring 2020 will address the following:

  • Planning Fees – a planning fee structure and new performance framework will be introduced to make sure the LPAs are sufficiently resourced to improve the speed and quality of decisions, linked to a new performance framework.
  • Appeal fees – to ensure the planning committees provide a proper consideration, planning application fees will be automatically rebated where applications are successful at appeal.
  • Land ownership transparency – exploring options to encourage planning permissions are built out more quickly. Greater transparency on land options in terms of ownership.
  • Zoning Tools – simplifying the process of granting planning permission by Local Development Orders.
  • Compulsory Purchase Orders – to enhance effectiveness of the CPO, further support and expertise will be given to Local Authorities to give greater confidence in using CPO powers and will consult on legislative reforms to speed up the decision-making process. This might involve statutory timescales for decisions, ending the automatic right to public inquiry, encouraging early agreements on compensations and options to remit more decisions back to Local Authorities.

12) Help for first time buyers

The government is committed to providing new routes to home ownership by:

  • Cutting the cost of new homes through the new First Homes scheme by an average of £70,000 for eligible first-time buyers (in perpetuity)
  • encouraging a market for long-term fixed rate mortgages by working with lenders to explore options to encourage a market in long-term fixed rate mortgages
  • simplifying the route to home ownership by national shared ownership model by making the model more friendly, accessible and fair.

13) Good design and placemaking

The Government wants to encourage more beautiful design by revisions to the NPPF, responding to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission’s report and giving local authorities the ability to ensure that new homes conform to local residents’ ideas of beauty through the planning system, by asking local places to produce their own design guides and codes considering the local context.

14) Flood Risk

The Government commits to £5.2bn of investment for flood defences, as announced through the Budget and review the NPPF to assess whether the existing framework provides a sufficient protection.

15) Future Homes Standard (FHS)

The proposed FHS will require up to 80% lower carbon emissions for all new homes from 2025.

16) Net Zero development in Toton, East Midlands

The Government will explore options for regeneration around Toton, potentially through Development Corporations.

17) Affordable Housing

A commitment of £12bn funding for Affordable Housing announced through the budget. This is expected to bring in around a further £38 billion public and private investment.

18) Building Safety

A commitment of an additional £1 billion in 20/21 to support the remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding in private and social residential buildings above 18 metres. Publishing the Social Housing White paper – bringing forward reforms to protect those in social homes

19) New Homes Ombudsman

Scheme aiming to ensure that homebuyers can access help when they need it and get them the compensation they deserve.

20) Tenants security

Introducing the Renters’ Reform Bill to improve security for tenants by abolishing the use of ‘no fault evictions’ and to introduce a new ‘lifetime tenancy deposit’ and support good landlords.

21) Addressing homelessness

The proposal pledges £640 million to end rough sleeping by £381 million investment in ‘move on’ accommodation and £262 million to the substance misuse services.

The Planning White Paper including the Government’s housing strategy will be published alongside the Spending Review. The Government will set out “a detailed vision of what the country’s housing and land markets should be in 2030” and the direction of travel to achieve this vision.

For more information about the Planning for the future paper can be found the GOV.UK website.

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