With the massive demand for new housing the government are putting pressure on local councils to allow more new developments to obtain planning permission. On the 3rd of March 2018 Sajid Javid, the housing secretary announced that he is reforming the National Planning Policy Framework.
In order to meet the target of 300,000 houses per year by 2025 the government have decided to take the power of decision making away from local councils. They feel there is a NIMBY (not in my back yard) attitude in local councils who are blocking new developments in their area. Local councils will be given minimum targets to meet, if they fail to meet their Local Development Plans the government will intervene by sending an independent inspector to make the decision in that council.
The other reforms announced include:
- Plans to build 5 new towns between Oxford and Cambridge – nick named the ‘Brain Belt’
- Create an express way and improved rail link between Oxford and Cambridge
- Building affordable housing for key workers in strategic locations
- Relaxing rules related to height allowing for home owners and developers to build up wards
- More stringent time barriers to encourage developers with land and planning to get on with building
- Continued Green Belt protection and encouragement to build on brown field sites
- Finally, the government will be forcing developers to build their quota of affordable housing. It has been recently revealed that many developers have been exploiting a loop hole in planning law allowing for them to shirk their responsibility to build affordable housing if they can prove their profit margins will drop below 20%. The government have said developers will “be held to account for delivering the commitments”.