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PM’s Planning Policy- a concrete plan for delivering homes?

Mairead Carroll, Programme Director, Housing

On the 13th July 2016 just after she was appointed Prime Minister, Theresa May stood in front of the assembled media and promised to fight against the ‘burning injustices’ facing the country. This included her observation that ‘if you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever before to own your own home.’

Fast forward two years later, through the housing white paper (and all its associated consultation documents), the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has published two new papers they hope will create a framework for building the 300,000 new homes needed across the country each year.

Launching the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework in a speech last Monday the Prime Minister said that we “cannot bring about the kind of society I want to see, unless we tackle one of the biggest barriers to social mobility we face today: the national housing crisis.”

The draft revised NPPF, will see 80 of the proposals set out in the Housing White Paper implemented, including using land more efficiently, fast tracking planning permissions into homes, giving greater certainty to local authorities and putting local plans in place to give communities more control.

With the Chancellor expected to announce an improved fiscal forecast in the spring statement next week, the time is certainly right to start building more homes.

In her speech the Prime Minister touched on the need to not just build homes for ownership, but also to build more homes to rent, more affordable homes, address homelessness, and to protect the Green Belt. There will also be stronger protections for ancient woodlands and historic coastlines.

In what can be seen as a clear red line, both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State said that local authorities and developers will only be able to build on the Green Belt in exceptional circumstances. Touching on viability assessments the draft revised NPPF will look to set a local threshold for affordable housing, if the developer meets this, then there will be no further scrutiny, if not then the viability assessment will be made public.

The Prime Minister set out a clear challenge to builders and developers saying that she expects “developers to do their duty to Britain and build the homes our country needs. The question remains, will the draft revised NPPF enable them to do so?

The plans will be consulted on over the next 8 weeks – with a final version expected to be published in the summer. We will be running member consultation session and details will be released as soon as possible.


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