At the beginning of March, Theresa May, turned her attention back to the UK’s housing crisis, promising to rewrite “the rule book in terms of planning” to force councils to hit housebuilding targets. The promise comes after the Prime Minister declared that “for decades, this country has failed to build enough of the right homes in the right places” and that “housing is so unaffordable that millions of people who would reasonably expect to buy their own home are unable to do so”. The gap between granted permissions and homes being built is still too large. To tackle this problem, Theresa May has promised to restore the dream of home ownership by implementing changes. In this blog, we reveal more.
At current, many developers are not acting fast enough, taking longer than expected to build houses, despite planning permissions already being granted. As a result, councils are struggling, and failing, to meet housebuilding targets to build 300,000 homes per year by the mid-2020s, which is something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Prime Minister. Although it has previously been communicated that retirement homes or build-to-rent solutions could be the answer to addressing the housing crisis, Theresa May has vowed to tackle the underlying issue by introducing changes to release more land for development and remove planning powers from councils who miss their goals.
The housing secretary, Sajid Javid, said councils would be given higher targets for homes to be built and those who failed would have their planning powers removed and handed to an independent inspector; developers’ past records, if bad, could count against them when they bid for new planning permissions.
In an interview with the BBC, the Prime Minister touched on the public’s anger at the lack of affordable housing within the UK, saying: “Many people within the UK today, young people in particular, fear they will never be able to own a home of their own.”
The changes implemented are said to make the process fairer and much more effective by streamlining the process, cutting red tape, and putting a stop to barriers to building. As a result, councils will experience increased pressure to build affordable homes for public sector “key workers”, such as nurses, doctors, teachers, and police officers.
The major overhaul to the National Planning Policy Framework is the first to happen in six years and has already launched to provide a comprehensive approach for planners, developers, and councils to allow them to build the homes this country is in desperate need of. Final versions of plans are expected to be published in the summer.