Plan to boost British housebuilding, jobs and the economy

This includes a series of measures aimed at supporting businesses, developers and first-time buyers, while slashing unnecessary red tape across the planning system.

The measures include:

– Removing restrictions on house builders to help unlock 75,000 homes currently stalled due to sites being commercially unviable. Developers who can prove that council’s costly affordable housing requirements make the project unviable will see them removed.
– New legislation for Government guarantees of up to £40 billion worth of major infrastructure projects and up to £10 billion of new homes. The Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill will include guaranteeing the debt of Housing Associations and private sector developers.
– Up to 15,000 affordable homes and bring 5,000 empty homes back into use using new capital funding of £300m and the infrastructure guarantee
– An additional 5,000 homes built for rent at market rates in line with proposals outlined in Sir Adrian Montague’s report to Government on boosting the private rented sector
– Thousands of big commercial and residential applications to be directed to a major infrastructure fast track and where councils are poor at processing decisions developers can opt to have their decision taken by the Planning Inspectorate. More applications also will go into a fast track appeal process.
– 16,500 first-time buyers helped with a £280m extension of the successful ‘FirstBuy’ scheme, which offers aspiring homeowners a much-needed deposit and a crucial first step on the housing ladder.
– For a time limited period, slashing planning red tape, including sweeping away the rules and bureaucracy that prevent families and businesses from making improvements to their properties, helping tens of thousands of home owners and companies.

The Prime Minister said:

"The measures announced today show this Government is serious about rolling its sleeves up and doing it all it can to kick-start the economy. Some of the proposals are controversial; others have been a long time in coming. But along with our Housing Strategy, they provide a comprehensive plan to unleash one of the biggest homebuilding programmes this country has seen in a generation. That means more investment around the county; more jobs for our people; and more young families able to realise their dreams and get on the housing ladder."

The Deputy Prime Minister said:

"This is a Coalition Government, determined to get on with the job of delivering a healthier economy.Today’s major boost to housing and planning will make it easier to build a home, easier to buy a first home and easier to extend a home. A boost that will get Britain building again. Building thousands of affordable homes and generating thousands of new jobs."

Jonathan Haward, chairman of County Homesearch, commented:

“The coalition is just tinkering and while this may give a boost to local house builders it will do nothing significant to improve the wider economy or the housing market.

“More radical moves are needed to get people to move. Many homeowners are locked in their homes because capital growth has been insignificant and they still do not have the funds to move up a rung.

“We suggest that by moving the burden of Stamp Duty to the seller’s property will encourage people to move. A buyer has many costs but a vendor is more likely to be in a position to take the pain of paying Stamp Duty.”

Jamie Lester, Head of Haus Properties, comments: “Whilst the planning changes sound like good news on one hand by helping to create jobs and housing, my concern is that if people don’t have access to funding to buy or improve their homes, the initiatives are as good as useless!  I personally have planning permission to extend my home, but Halifax is making my life hell in order to release a little equity, even though my property has £200,000 of equity in it. With a growing family, this leaves me stuck in a rut!
 
“Although relaxing red tape is also welcomed, the changes to allow people to extend their properties up to 6m (or 8m for detached houses) without planning permission are a concern, especially in urban areas. This could cause neighbourly issues with other people’s light and enjoyment of their own properties affected.  And what will happen when the rules change again after a year? Obviously, the devil will be in the detail, but I do think it will lead to a lot of confusion and some serious disputes!”

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