Chancellor George Osborne is to announce plans to sweep aside planning laws and allow new homes to be built on most brownfield land without permission
The dramatic move, which is expected to be confirmed in a speech in Birmingham later today (10 July), will see automatic permission granted on ‘suitable’ brownfield land across the country as well as further relaxing of laws in London to allow extra storeys to be added to homes without consent.
Major infrastructure projects which include ‘elements of housing’ will also be pushed through faster and could potentially force thousands of homes on areas of the country. Councils which do not process applications quickly enough could also face sanctions.
In London the Chancellor would allow developers to by-pass the normal approval system and build upwards extensions, up to the same height as neighbouring properties.
Ahead of the full announcement, Osborne said: ‘Britain has been incapable of building enough homes. The reforms we made to the planning system in the last parliament have started to improve the situation: planning permissions and housing starts are at a seven-year high.
‘But we need to go further and I am not prepared to stand by when people who want to get on the housing ladder can’t do so.
‘We’ll keep on protecting the green belt, but these latest planning reforms are a vital part of a comprehensive plan to confront the challenge of our lifetime and raise productivity and living standards.’
The new planning laws, which will have to be rubberstamped by MPs in Parliament, are expected to be opposed by local councils and many grass-roots Conservative supporters.
Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation
‘The raft of planning announcements today really hit the nail on the head for a number of planning issues. We are particularly pleased to see a commitment to bring forward brownfield land for redevelopemnt and also the focus on Local Plans, as the absence of such is a real block to local growth.
These planning announcements really hit the nail on the head
‘In order for these changes to make a difference, however, we strongly urge government to begin a dialogue with both the public and private sectors on how to address the severe shortage of funds which is afflicting local planning departments. The private sector will need to play a part in helping to address this funds shortage, and this needs to be explored fully if we want these new measures to work. We would also have liked to have seen some commitment to growing the purpose-built rental sector, which has an important part to play in solving the housing crisis and creating a balanced housing market.
‘We warmly welcome the government’s recognition of how a functioning and efficient planning system can contribute to the UK’s growth by creating not just new homes, but also the infrastructure that supports great places.’