Finance News

Boris Johnson announces 'most radical planning reforms since WW2'

The government has confirmed its £12bn affordable homes programme.

Rozi Jones
|
30th June 2020
affordable housing build new build apartment flat

Boris Johnson has announced a new package of measures to build thousands of new homes as part of the government's Covid-19 recovery plan.

Johnson said the measures would include "the most radical reforms to our planning system since the Second World War".

New regulations will give greater freedom for buildings and land in town centres to change use without planning permission and create new homes from the regeneration of vacant and redundant buildings.

Under the new rules, existing commercial properties, including newly vacant shops, can be converted into residential housing more easily.

Builders will no longer need a normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes.

Property owners will also be able to build additional space above their properties via a fast track approval process, subject to neighbour consultation.

The government says these changes, which are planned to come into effect by September, will both support the high street revival by allowing empty commercial properties to be quickly repurposed and reduce the pressure to build on green field land by making brownfield development easier.

The Prime Minister also announced that work will begin to look at how land owned by the government can be managed more effectively.

A new cross-government strategy will look at how public sector land can be managed and released so it can be put to better use. This would include home building, improving the environment, contributing to net zero goals and injecting growth opportunities into communities across the country.

Alongside the announcements, the government confirmed its £12bn affordable homes programme that will support up to 180,000 new affordable homes for ownership and rent over the next eight years.

Included in the affordable homes programme will be a 1,500 unit pilot of ‘First Homes’: houses that will be sold to first time buyers at a 30% discount which will remain in perpetuity, keeping them affordable for generations of families to own.

Additionally, funds from the £400m Brownfield Land Fund have today been allocated to the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Liverpool City Region, Sheffield City Region, and North of Tyne and Tees Valley to support around 24,000 homes.

Finally, the Home Builders Fund to help smaller developers access finance for new housing developments will receive additional £450m boost. This is expected to support delivery of around 7,200 new homes.

 

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