Planning Reforms to Boost Housing Sector
The government has announced a number of reforms to the planning system which are intended to boost activity in the construction sector. These are aimed at reducing delays in applications for new development sites, enabling more properties to be built to help meet the growing demand for residential homes.
Use of More Sites
The changes will see automatic permission granted for houses that are built on brownfield sites. This will be the case even if it over-rules the intentions of the local council. RICS has highlighted that more than 226,000 properties could be constructed in the coming four years on existing brownfield sites that already have planning permission.
One of the other changes that the government will implement is to have unused land seized by ministers if it is suitable for residential developments. Often this is left unused for a number of years when it could ideally have family homes, such as those with large gardens or a stainless steel balcony, built on it
Better Planning System
As part of the reforms, the start of work on major projects will be speeded up through a faster approvals system. Currently, new sites can often be delayed for months, in some cases even years, because of red tape and planning delays.
In general, the government wants the planning system to operate more smoothly than it does at present. They will introduce penalties if councils make less than half of their planning decisions in the allocated time. This is intended to make councils more accountable for their actions and push them to sign off on planning decisions far sooner.
The British Property Federation (BPF) broadly welcomed the reforms. They believe that there is the potential for the changes to have a significant impact on the supply of housing in the UK. However, they do feel that some of the initiatives will require additional funds if local councils are to make them a reality.
The BPF doesn't want the government to solely focus on properties that are for sale. It believes that the importance of the rental sector should also be a key area for consideration. This will help to create a more balanced property market and reduce the shortage of houses in this country.
Currently, the majority of local authorities do not have the right plans for delivering the required number of properties. It is the aim of these planning reforms to change this and create a housing system that is fit for the future.