A blueprint for the future of new housing in the UK has been unveiled by the government.
Key to the proposals is a bid to identify and redevelop unused urban brownfield sites, while avoiding lengthy planning delays.
Councils will also be told to put housing needs first when redeveloping high streets left empty by retail decline – and to encourage high-rise developments near rail, tube and tram stations.
Next month the government will launch a register of brownfield sites which will map out unused land as part of plans to encourage councils to prioritise this land over greenfield sites – backed by £400m to bring this mostly unused land back to use.
Developers will be able to demolish vacant commercial, industrial and residential buildings and replace them with well-designed homes without getting delayed in a lengthy planning process, meaning that more homes will be delivered more quickly.
Good design will be at the heart of the new system, with the government championing tree-lined streets, a ‘fast track for beauty’, and a commitment to lower carbon emissions in all new homes to create a green revolution in housebuilding.
The government will review how councils assess how many homes are needed in their area and incentivise those that deliver on those numbers.
All local authorities will be required to have up-to-date Local Plans in place by December 2023, or see government intervention, so enough homes are built for their communities.
The changes come ahead of plans for an ambitious planning white paper – set to radically reform the planning system by speeding up the decision-making process so homes can be built more quickly where they are most needed.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “I want everyone, no matter where they live, to have access to affordable, safe, quality housing and live in communities with a real sense of place – as part of our mission to level up, unite and unleash the potential of this country.
“We must think boldly and creatively about the planning system to make it fit for the future, and this is just the first step, so we can deliver the homes communities need.”
The announcement follows a package of measures announced in yesterday’s Budget to help more people onto the housing ladder by building more affordable homes and speeding up the planning process to deliver the 300,000 homes a year the country needs.
There will be help for those that want to build their own home, and for parish councils and neighbourhood forums wanting to build a small number of homes that will allow their community to grow.
There will also be an allocation of £1.1bn from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to help build nearly 70,000 new homes in high-demand areas across the country.
There will also be £12bn of investment to build more affordable homes, with the ability to also bring in around £38bn of further private and public investment.