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Government publishes landmark Housing and Planning bill
Published October 12th, 2015
In the latest push to stimulate housing growth the government last week published a landmark Housing and Planning Bill. Among the provisions in this wide-ranging bill is the statutory framework for the Government’s ‘Starter Homes’ scheme which includes a new legal duty to be placed on councils to guarantee the provision of 200,000 starter homes on all reasonably sized new development sites. These will be offered to first-time buyers at a 20 per cent discount on market price.
Another key measure provides ministers with powers to intervene to ensure that all councils have local plans in place by 2017 as well as placing a requirement on Councils to keep registers of brownfield land and provide for automatic permission in principle on such sites.
In addition there is an extension of the right-to-buy discount to some housing association tenants and a duty on local authorities to sell their most expensive vacant homes. The bill also introduces planning reforms to support small builders by placing a new duty on councils to help allocate land to people who want to build their own home.
What does it mean?
Whilst the Bill is in its very early stages and does not become law until it gains Royal Assent, it is a significant statement of intent by the government to push through further planning reforms to stimulate growth and housing supply.
As always the devil will be in the detail however there is no doubt that the bill will open up opportunities for development, particularly on brownfield land. It is also pleasing to see the further attempts to speed up the local plans process which remains frustratingly slow and cumbersome for all involved. The move to help support small builders is consistent with previous legislation on this matter and will inevitably help stimulate and consolidate the strong local self-build market.
The bill can be read in full at http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2015-16/housingandplanning.html