DCLG unveils Housing White Paper

DCLG unveils Housing White Paper

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid sets out key requirements to ‘fix’ the housing market in the Housing White Paper.

The Government has introduced new plans designed to fix the broken housing market and build more homes across England.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said the current system isn’t working and is one of the greatest barriers to progress in Britain today.

The measures are desigend to reduce the obstacles to house building and help local authorities, developers and SME builders build more homes. Sajid Javid called them, “ambitious proposals to help fix the housing market so that more ordinary working people from across the country can have the security of a decent place to live”

The Housing White Paper ‘Fixing our broken housing market’ is available here

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The only way to halt the decline in affordability and help more people onto the housing ladder is to build more homes. Let’s get Britain building.”

Protection of greenfield land is one of the many proposals within the White Paper. Only in ‘exceptional circumstances’ may councils alter green belt boundaries, and only after consulting local people and submitting the revised Local Plan for examination. The governement aims to release more public sector land for building.

On the issue of the pace of house building the White Paper seeks to give local authorities the tools to speed up the process along with powers to make sure developers build homes on time. One measure being introduced is a tightening of the timescale within which a developers must start building after getting planning permission to two years.

It also seeks to consult on the principle of a new, standardised way of calculating housing demand to reflect housing pressures. It calls for every local area to produce a realistic plan and review it at least every 5 years.

The Housing White Paper also calls for action to help small independent builders enter the market referencing the £3 billion Home Building Fund announced in 2016.

Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell said: “We are setting out lasting reforms that will get more of the right homes built in the right places, right now. We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to fix the broken housing market problems and help them find a home of their own.”

Reacting to the announcement Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: “I’m pleased that the White Paper recognises the potential for SMEs to deliver far more homes than they do currently. In addition, it accurately identifies the key barriers to them doing so as land, planning and finance.

Commenting on planning Berry noted: “plans to boost resources for planning departments could be used to provide an adrenalin shot to a planning system which has been running on near-empty for too long now. The proposed 20% hike in planning fees, which will only apply where local authorities agree to invest the extra resources in planning, will get a cautious welcome from most small developers. If this can be shown to deliver observable improvements in planning services, then it would make a good case for further increases along the lines the White Paper suggests.”

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation said: “The industry is determined to meet the challenges laid down by Government and help deliver more homes more quickly. We will look to work with Government on the detail of the measures announced today to ensure they will lead to many more new homes being built in the coming years.

“Plans to speed up the planning process, bring forward more developable land and make Local Authorities abide by their responsibilities are key. If we are to build more homes, we need more land coming through the system more quickly. Measures that will allow SME builders to build more homes will increase the capacity of the industry and result in increases in overall supply.”

Further reaction to the Housing White Paper is available here.

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