Last month, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published a draft revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) that incorporated proposals for its new consultation, which began on Monday 5 March 2018 and will close at 23.45 on Thursday 10 May 2018.
The introduction to the consultation proposals read: “This country does not have enough homes. For decades the number of new homes has not kept pace with rising demand. That has created a market that fails to work for far too many families, resulting in soaring prices and rising rents. The Government is clear that the country needs radical, lasting reform that will allow more homes to be built.”
More than 1m homes have been built since 2010, and last year saw the biggest increase in housing supply in England – over 217,000 new homes – for almost a decade. Although significant progress has been made, the target is to reach 300,000 net additional homes a year by the mid-2020s.
The new proposals attempt to make it easier for planners, developers and councils to build more homes, more quickly, in the places people want to live. More freedom will be given to local authorities to make the most of existing brownfield land to build homes that maximise density. Redundant land will also be encouraged for development such as under-utilised retail or industrial space, with more flexibility given to extend upwards on existing blocks of flats and houses as well as shops and offices.
Lewis Johnston, parliamentary affairs manager at RICS, says of the proposals: “The planning changes effectively mark the end of the localism experiment for housebuilding. In threatening to remove planning powers from councils who fail to deliver their target of new homes, the Prime Minister is suggesting local authorities bear at least some responsibility for the housing crisis.”