Owen Pike explores whether the Housing and Planning bill will increase housing deliveryPublished on: 12th May 2016
Earlier this year the government announced a £1.2 billion starter home fund, to prepare brownfield sites for new homes. The government believe that the fund will fast-track the creation of at least 30,000 new starter homes and up to 30,000 market homes, on 500 new sites by 2020.
Owen Pike, associate partner in our planning department comments on the government’s starter home fund:
“It is questionable whether the Housing and Planning bill will increase housing delivery, certainly in the short term, because of uncertainty over the provision of affordable housing.
There is a general duty to promote supply of starter homes within the bill but it is not clear whether starter homes need to be provided instead of affordable housing requirements, or in addition to. This is a critical point and I believe ‘live’ residential applications could stall until the government clarifies, because it will have an impact on the viability of projects.
If councils are forced to sell their housing stock under Right to Buy, this could force the poorest out of expensive areas like London. Planning for all members of society is crucial to delivering balanced communities and driving economic growth.
It is highly questionable whether growing businesses will remain in – or relocate to – areas where house prices are high, the supply of stock is limited, new development is restricted by planning constraints and where commuting levels are significant if their employees cannot afford to buy a home.
The proposals to reform the planning system and provide more land to build homes are welcome and should help to increase housing provision. This includes introducing a Planning Permission in principle, requiring local authorities to grant planning permission for enough service plots to meet the demand of self-build and custom house building and giving greater powers to the secretary of state to intervene in the preparation of local plans.
However, in order to meet the needs of the whole population, including people who will never be homeowners, I think the government should reconsider its proposals for extending right to buy. Similarly, funding should be made available for councils to build their own housing stock.”
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