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At a glance: The parties' key built environment pledges

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The 2015 general election is less than three weeks away, and all of the major political parties have now released their manifestos

With none of them expected to win an overall majority, a round of post-election horse-trading seems likely, making it impossible to rule out any of their promises ending up on the statute books. The AJ takes a look at the main pledges affecting architecture and the built environment.

What do you think of the political parties and their architectural policies? We want to hear your views.

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  • Funding 15,000 new council homes a year, plus a £1 billion brownfield fund and an extension of right to buy discounts to housing association tenants funded by forcing councils to sell their most expensive properties
  • Doubling the number of new homes planned under the Housing Zones programme
  • Requiring local authorities to ensure 90 per cent of suitable brownfield sites have planning permission for housing by 2020
  • Creating at least 500 new free schools over the next parliament, plus more academies, studio schools and university technical colleges
  • Doubling the number of self-build properties
  • Building 1,400 new flood defence schemes, protecting 300,000 homes
  • Stronger protection for natural landscapes including marine habitats
  • New ‘pocket parks’ for towns and cities


  • Creating an independent National Infrastructure Commission to define and deliver major projects, with flood defence schemes prioritised
  • Supporting the High Speed 2 rail project, while keeping costs down
  • Making a quick decision on increased airport capacity in London and the South East, following the Davies Review
  • Increasing education spending with inflation, while ending the coalition’s free schools programme
  • Increasing house building to 200,000 new homes a year by 2020, investing money raised by Help to Buy ISAs and creating a ‘new generation’ of garden cities
  • Giving first-time buyers the first option on new homes built in housing growth areas
  • Introducing ‘use it or lose it’ powers for councils to force developers to build
  • Devolving economic and development housing powers to city and county regions

Liberal democrats

  • Increasing house building to 300,000 across the UK, including 10 new garden cities, with five linked by a new Oxford-to-Cambridge rail line
  • Ending permitted development rights for converting offices to homes
  • Requiring local authorities to plan for 15 years of housing supply, and encouraging greater collaboration across boundaries
  • Introducing a third-party right of appeal where planning decisions contradict local plans
  • Bringing in new flood resilience standards for buildings and infrastructure in flood risk areas
  • Removing exemptions to the Zero Carbon Standard for new homes, and extending the rules to non-domestic buildings from 2019
  • Bringing in a Green Buildings Act to set new energy efficiency targets, including a ‘long-term ambition’ for every home to reach an energy rating of at least band C by 2035

Scottish National Party

The party will back investment in 100,000 affordable homes a year across the UK, the expansion of City Deals to all Scottish cities, and high-speed rail links to connect the country to HS2.

Green Party

The party pledges to bring 350,000 empty homes back into use, deliver 500,000 new social-rented homes by 2020 and freeze airport expansion. It also promises to reform the house-building industry to create more small and medium sized builders and community-led or cooperative initiatives. It would also repeal the NPPF and reduce VAT on housing renovation to 5 per cent.


Along with axing HS2, the party plans a series of measures to increase brownfi eld land use, including exempting the first £250,000 of new homes built on brownfield land from stamp duty; requiring the Environment Agency to list sites, and paying an enhanced new homes bonus to councils for brownfield homes.


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