Government's New Plan for Housing & Growth
Following this week’s cabinet reshuffle, a number of growth initiatives have come out of Whitehall, aimed at kick starting house building. A Written Statement released by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles on Thursday, detailed the initiatives to be implemented, reaffirming the Governments number one priority, to get the economy growing.
- £200 million is to be pumped into the private rental market, enabling institutional investors better access to high quality, rental units.
- Further guarantees against borrowing and investment of £300 million to be directed towards affordable housing to increase delivery and bring empty units back into use.
- The ‘Newbuy’ scheme will be extended, providing easier access to mortgages with just 5% deposit. An additional £280 million will go towards helping first time buyers.
- Where there is local support for growth and a strong requirement for new homes, ways to fast track such applications will be looked at, and changes announced in the 2013 budget. Bringing surplus local authority land back into use will also be targeted, increasing disposals and making transfers between departments easier.
- In order to reduce planning delays, the Government intends to give powers to the Planning Inspectorate to determine applications on behalf of Local Authorities who have a track record of delays and poor quality decisions. This will require more transparent reporting from Councils.
- With an estimated 75,000 new homes stalled due to site viability, greater negotiation over s106 and affordable housing will be encouraged. New legislation in 2013 will allow developers to appeal against affordable housing requirements, whereby the Inspectorate would set a new, viable number of units to be achieved.
- With regard to homeowners, it is proposed, following consultation, to extend permitted development rights, to free up local authority workloads and provide employment to small traders. Permitted development rights will be further extended to facilitate the change of use from commercial to residential, whilst giving the Local Authorities powers to protect identified areas where this change of use may be detrimental.
If you would like to discuss how these proposed changes may affect your business, please contact us.