SPECIAL FEATURE: Planning winners and losers
The Chancellor’s plans set out in “Fixing the Foundations” to reform the planning system will be welcomed by house builders and potential buyers alike. Local Authorities, however, will view the changes less favourably as they may now be forced to see homes built in their area even if opposed to development.
One element which was mooted as being subject to further reforms was the extension of the office to residential permitted development rights but the policy paper is silent. This will result in continued uncertainty for the residential industry and funders unless urgently clarified. The concept of zoning to facilitate greater development on brownfield sites through permitted development is interesting and as with all things the detail will be critical. This move won’t be without critics concerned about consultation, design and heritage issues amongst other matters.
While the plans set out today are a step in the right direction for house building, we shouldn’t lose sight of the chronic issue we have in the UK with housing and speed of delivery. Recent estimates outlined in the Lyons Housing Review suggested that at least 240,000 new houses need to be built per year just to meet current demand and that on current numbers we are only seeing about 125,000 delivered. We have supported the concept of housing being treated as infrastructure and today’s announcement to legislate to allow major infrastructure projects with an element of housing to apply through the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Regime process is a positive move but it is essential that large scale developments are properly planned and the scope of this change needs clarifying. We will watch with interest as further plans are unveiled in the coming months.