The Chancellor announced several housing related measures in the Budget yesterday as well as heralding ‘comprehensive’ planning reforms. The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP has today issued details of what these reforms will encompass.

The Government’s aim is to ‘get Britain building’ and the public purse is to be opened to help achieve this. A further promise has been made to release a “bold and ambitions” Planning White Paper later this spring although the core message remains the same – to speed things up and deliver more homes.

A summary of the key points to take away are set out below: 

  • The Treasury’s Net Zero Review will set out the Government’s strategic choices ahead of COP26 later this year
  • Metro Mayors to get London-style funding settlements worth £4.2bn
  • Transforming Cities Fund to invest in over £1b in local transport
  • Investing £400m to use brownfield land productively - new emphasis on building above stations
  • Reviewing the formula for calculating Local Housing Need
  • New permitted development rights for building upwards on existing buildings by summer 2020
  • Consult on new permitted development right to allow vacant commercial buildings, industrial buildings and residential blocks to be replaced
  • Backing the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, including a new spatial framework and up to 4 new development corporations
  • Setting a deadline for all local authorities to have an up-to-date local plan
  • Investing another £1.1 billion in local infrastructure to unlock 70,000 new homes
  • A new £10 billion Single Housing Infrastructure Fund - details of the funding will be announced alongside the Spending Review
  • Reform planning fees
  • Ensure land for housing is built out – this is to involve exploring options to encourage planning permissions to be built out more quickly
  • Expand the use of zoning tools to support development
  • Improve the effectiveness and take-up Compulsory Purchase Orders to help facilitate land assembly and infrastructure delivery
  • Introduce a Future Homes Standard (FHS) – from 2025, the FHS will require up to 80% lower carbon emissions for all new homes

Jenrick has stated that “we must think boldly and creatively about the planning system to make it fit for the future”. I fear we may have to wait a little longer for real boldness and creativity as most of the current proposals have been in evolution for a while now and don’t feel that new. However, cumulatively they should make a difference as will the extra public funding.