The Department for Communities and Local Government yesterday announced a series of new planning and housing measures. Key measures include:
- The removal of affordable housing requirements – Developers who can prove that a council’s affordable housing requirements will make a project commercially unviable will see them removed.
- The Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill - the Bill includes Government guarantees of up to £40 billion worth of major infrastructure projects and up to £10 billion of new homes. This will include guaranteeing the debt of Housing Associations and private sector developers.
- The provision of up to 15,000 affordable homes and £300m of capital funding to bring 5,000 empty homes back into use.
- The development of an additional 5,000 homes built for rent at market rates.
- Provisions for big commercial and residential applications to be directed to a major infrastructure fast track and, where the council is poor at processing applications, the opportunity for such developers to opt to have their decision taken by the Planning Inspectorate.
- Special Measures for poor performing planning departments - poor performing planning departments will be put into ‘special measures’ if they have failed to improve the speed and quality of their work and developers will be permitted to bypass councils. More applications also will go into a fast track appeal process.
- The extension of the ‘FirstBuy’ scheme.
- The Temporary relaxation of planning permission requirements – From October (for 12months) homeowners and businesses will be able to extend their properties without the need for planning permission. Home owners will only need full planning permission for single story extensions reaching beyond 8 metres for detached homes and 6 metres for others; and businesses will be able to expand shops by 100 squares metres and industrial units by 200 square metres