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Housing white paper: Building homes faster

Words: Laura Edgar
House building

Measures in the government’s housing white paper seek to reduce the scope for local and neighbourhood plans to be undermined by changing the way that land supply for housing is assessed.

Fixing our broken housing market was launched by communities secretary Sajid Javid today (7 February).  He said it represents a “bold, radical vision”.

Chapter 2 of the white paper – ‘Building homes faster’ – includes a proposal that will see a new housing delivery test ensure that local authorities and wider interests are held accountable for their role in ensuring that new homes are delivered in their area.

The test will highlight whether the number of homes being built is below target and provide a mechanism for establishing the reasons why, according to the paper. Where necessary, the test will “trigger” policy responses that aim to ensure that further land comes forward.

To transition to a housing delivery test, the government said it would use an area’s local plan, where it is up to date, to establish the appropriate baseline for assessing delivery. If there isn’t an up-to-date local plan, the government would use “published household projections for the years leading up to, and including, April 2017-March 2018 and from the financial year April 2018-March 2019, subject to consultation, the new standard methodology for assessing housing need”.

From November 2017, if housing delivery falls below 95 per cent of an authority’s annual housing requirement, the government wants the local authority to publish an action plan.

Proposals in this chapter also include boosting local authority capacity and capability to deliver, and to improve the speed and quality with which planning cases are handled.

The government has said it wants to ensure that infrastructure is provided in the right place at the right time by coordinating its investment and through the “targeting” of the £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund announced in the Autumn Statement last year.

According to the white paper, the government will support developers to build out more quickly by tackling “unnecessary delays caused by planning conditions” as well as considering a new approach to how developers contribute to infrastructure.

The government has said it is also considering the implications of amending national planning policy to encourage local authorities to shorten the timescales for developers to start building once they have planning permission from three years to two years.This would stand “except where a shorter timescale could hinder the viability or deliverability of a scheme”.

“We would particularly welcome views on what such a change would mean for SME developers,” the paper states.

Read more here:

Housing white paper: Government to support SMEs and renters

A first look at the housing white paper

Housing white paper: Right homes, right places

Housing white paper: Market diversification

Housing white paper: Government pledges to help people now

Government housing white paper pledges to boost planning resources

Housing white paper: Rising land values not addressed, says RTPI 

Housing white paper: Reaction 

Housing white paper: Encouraging, but more clarity is needed

The housing white paper: Surgical repair or sticking plaster?

The housing white paper can be found here (pdf).

Image credit | iStock