15:03 PM, 16th December 2020, About 10 months ago
Following a consultation launched in the summer that sought views from planners, councils and the wider public, the government has announced its plan for enabling the delivery of more homes across England.
A housing need formula is currently used to provide a starting point in the process of local planning for new homes. An updated method will now be introduced to help councils to enable the delivery of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, while prioritising brownfield sites and urban areas.
Under the proposals, cities will be encouraged to plan for more family homes – which are the right size and type for families to live in – and to make the most of vacant buildings and underused land to protect green spaces. The plans will encourage more homes to be built in England’s 20 largest cities and urban centres, boosting local economies by supporting jobs in the building sector, and revitalising high streets with the footfall new residents bring.
The government also intends to revise the so-called ‘80/20 rule’ which guides how much funding is available to local areas to help build homes. This will establish a new principle to ensure funding is not just concentrated in London and the South East.
Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: “This government wants to build more homes as a matter of social justice, for intergenerational fairness and to create jobs for working people. We are reforming our planning system to ensure it is simpler and more certain without compromising standards of design, quality and environmental protection.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated and magnified patterns that already existed, creating a generational opportunity for the repurposing of offices and retail as housing and for urban renewal. We want this to be an opportunity for a new trajectory for our major cities – one which helps to forge a new country beyond Covid – which is more beautiful, healthier, more prosperous, more neighbourly and where more people have the security and dignity of a home of their own.
“A new expert Urban Centre Recovery Task Force has been set up to advise on the development and regeneration of our great town and city centres. The Task Force includes Peter Freeman, the visionary behind the redevelopment of Kings’ Cross and new Chair of Homes England.”
To further support local areas in delivering these homes, and following the £20 billion investment in housing announced as part of last month’s Spending Review, today the government is also:
To ensure tall buildings are in areas that are appropriate, the government has issued a London Plan direction to the Mayor of London asking boroughs to set a definition for a tall building, based on a minimum of 18m height.
During the pandemic, the government has made it easier for cities and towns to adapt to the challenges they have faced. This includes making it easier to demolish and rebuild unused buildings as homes, providing restaurants, pubs and cafes with the freedom to provide takeaway services, and making it easier for businesses and communities to host markets and stalls so customers can be served safely. Today’s changes build on this to enable the delivery of stronger, more prosperous and more resilient places for people to live in.
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