Chancellor George Osborne has unveiled a series of planning reforms and government investment to boost housebuilding in the UK
Billed as an ‘urban planning revolution’, the proposed shake-up hinges on plans to release more brownfield land for the delivery of 200,000 new homes.
Speaking last night (12 June), Osborne demanded that councils establish local development orders (LDO) on brownfield land – effectively creating automatic outline planning permissions for residential developments.
Councils will be required to put LDOs on more than 90 per cent of the brownfield sites suitable for housing by 2020
Osborne said the Treasury would create a £5million fund to help create the first 100 LDOs.
In his annual Mansion House speech, Osborne said: ‘If we want to limit development on important green spaces, we have to remove all the obstacles that remain to development on brownfield sites.’
Osborne and the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, also announced plans for 50,000 new homes, across twenty new housing zones in the capital.
Local authorities will be expected to identify and package together brownfield land, which could be used for new housing zones and remove all ‘unnecessary planning restrictions’, Osborne and Johnson said.
The local authority will then partner with a developer to build out the site.
The chancellor will back the move in London with £200million of Treasury funding, which will be matched by City Hall. But the chancellor will extend it to other areas of Britain.
Osborne said: ‘We’ll take the same approach in the rest of the country; with almost half a billion pounds of financial assistance in total set aside to make [housing zones] work.’
Comment from the RIBA:
‘Automatic housing permissions for public owned brownfield could hinder local authorities from proactively developing sites in a strategic way that benefits the local area and provides affordable housing.
‘The chancellor’s proposal could prove a barrier to councils’ ability to capture land value rises to offset the up-front provision of high quality infrastructure. In addition, it would likely be more difficult to control quality of development as closely. There would be less scope for local control over both the delivery of vital infrastructure and comprehensive masterplanning essential to create harmonious and sustainable communities.
“RIBA is wary of such a large release of public land on very tricky brownfield sites with lots of issues that require strategic planning at a local level. We await the detail on how the Government would support delivery of high quality infrastructure and ensure high standards of design in new development. Reform of planning laws is welcome but it must place local authorities at the heart of local responses and be accompanied by the right package of financial and skills support to deliver the local infrastructure and master planning these new homes will need.”