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Housing white paper: Right homes, right places

Words: Laura Edgar

The government’s housing white paper aims to simplify plan-making so it is easier for communities to produce plans and for developers to follow them.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid launched the paper today (7 February) in the House of Commons.

Fixing our broken housing market’s first chapter, ‘Planning for the right homes in the right places’ sets out measures to ensure that every part of the country has an up-to-date local plan. Transparency on land ownership will be increased, says the paper.

Building on measures in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill, the government is proposing that every authority should be covered by a plan, but will remove the expectation that they should be covered by a single local plan.

“Instead, we will set out the strategic priorities that each area should plan for, with flexibility over how they may do so.”

Further to this, the government wants to enable spatial development strategies, which would be produced by combined authorities or elected mayors, to allocate strategic sites.

Plans should start from an “honest assessment” of the housing need and local authorities should work with their neighbour so “difficult decisions are not ducked".

To make more land available, the contribution from brownfield and surplus public sector land should be maximised, “to support the regeneration of our cities, towns and villages, to support economic growth and to limit the pressure on the countryside,” states the paper.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will be amended to indicate that “great weight should be attached to the value of using suitable brownfield land within settlements for homes”.

Green belt boundaries should only be amended in exceptional circumstances and existing strong protections will be maintained.

Communities will be given a stronger voice in the design of new housing in order to improve the quality and character of new development, according to the white paper, “building on the success of neighbourhood planning”.

Additionally, better use should be made of land for housing. Higher densities, such as in urban locations where the housing demand is high, should be encouraged. Space standards will be reviewed.  

Read more:

Housing white paper: Government to support SMEs and renters

A first look at the housing white paper

Housing white paper: Building homes faster

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). 

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