George Osborne pledges to build more houses

// HA News

In what Treasury officials describe as the “second half” of his Summer Budget, the Chancellor George Osborne will announce proposals to override local objections to house building projects (coined NIMBYism.)

By reducing the amount of refusals house building projects receive, Osborne hopes to tackle the UK housing crisis by removing some of the barriers that current stop more homes being built.

Mr Osborne will say “Britain has been incapable of building enough homes. The reforms we made to the planning system in the last parliament have started to improve the situation: planning permissions and housing starts are at a seven-year high.”

“But we need to go further and I am not prepared to stand by when people who want to get on the housing ladder can’t do so. We’ll keep on protecting the green belt, but these latest planning reforms are a vital part of a comprehensive plan to confront the challenge of our lifetime and raise productivity and living standards.”

The amendments to planning laws that surround house buildings will be announced in the Business Secretary The Chancellor Sajid Javid’s ‘90-page blueprint’  to boost Britain’s productivity and create a more dynamic economy.

Notable changes to the planning laws will include the following:

  • Automatic planning permission on all suitable brownfield (former industrial) sites, removing unnecessary delays
  • Power for the Government to intervene and have local plans drafted when councils fail to produce them and penalties for those that make 50 per cent or fewer planning decisions on time
  • Stronger compulsory purchase powers to bring forward more brownfield land, and devolution of planning powers to the Mayors of London and Manchester
  • Major infrastructure projects which include housing development to be fast-tracked
  • End the need for planning permission for upwards extensions for a limited number of storeys up to the height of the adjoining building in London
  • Higher-density development around key commuter hubs.

The need for streamlined practices that create a more affective land and housing market, with homes for all at affordable prices, is something that everybody is agreement with. It is the methods that cause the controversy.

Mr Osborne will comment “This (change) will not be achieved overnight and will require a truly national effort by government, business and working people. But with this productivity plan, I believe that we have taken the vital first step towards securing the prosperity and a livelihoods of generations to come. It is my ambition that by 2030, Britain becomes the richest of all major economies.”

Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Jim O’Neill said “Building more houses is central to our plans to improve productivity in the UK, which is why we are today setting out radical measures to shake up the planning system. Productivity is key to improving national living standards and is a challenge that successive Governments have failed to tackle. Our productivity plan will lay the foundations for an ambitious cross-government agenda that will secure the prosperity of the country.”

Mr Sajid Javid added “This plan lays the foundations for a stronger future. Every part of government will be involved. Under-supply of housing pushes up house prices in many areas and means millions of people can’t live and work where they want to, or even own their own home. We are absolutely determined to see more planning permissions granted and more houses built.”

Britain's oldest housing and planning charity, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) has expressed concern about the implications of the Government’s announcements today on widespread changes to planning law. Kate Henderson, TCPA Chief Executive said “The decision to give automatic planning permission to sites on brownfield land seriously undermines the ability for genuine place-making, and risks creating the slums of the future.  After all, without planning how can we bring forward high quality new communities which are accessible, affordable and sustainable?”

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