Boris Johnson today announced new regulations that will encourage the building of thousands of new homes and the most radical reform of the planning system since the Second World War. These plans aim to give greater flexibility for the change of use of commercial properties to provide affordable homes as part of the Covid-19 recovery measures.
What are the changes?
Today’s announcement heralds the start of a major investment in housing, as well as the planning reforms, the Government confirmed a £12bn affordable homes programme which will see 180,000 new homes built over the next 8 years.
The Prime Minister proposed a series of planning reforms that intend to revive failing high streets by encouraging the conversion of existing commercial properties – including newly- vacant shops, into residential properties, for ownership and rent. The easing of planning rules will encourage regeneration in local High Streets which have suffered as a result of the recent crisis.
In addition, this relaxation of planning rules mean that property owners will now be able to extend the space above their properties, subject to consultation with their neighbours.
Builders will no longer need a planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are intended to be converted into new homes.
With these changes expected to come into effect by September, the government looks to encourage a high street revival and reduce the pressure to build on Greenfield land, by making brownfield development easier.
Measures announced in the reform
- £12bn spent on an affordable homes programme creating up to 180,000 new homes over the next 8 years
- 1,500 unit for a ‘First Homes’ – houses for first time buyers to be sold at a 30% discount which will remain in perpetuity, keeping them affordable for generations of families
- £400m from the Brownfield Land Fund to build around 24,00 homes has been allocated to:
- West Midlands,
- Greater Manchester,
- West Yorkshire
- Liverpool City
- North Tyne and Tees Valley
- A £450m boost to the Home Builders Fund to help smaller developers access finance for new housing developments. This should deliver around 7,200 new homes.
Pauline Hudd – Partner in our Property Team welcomed these measures which, she said, will provide a much-needed boost to the construction industry, as well as giving more people access to affordable homes. By freeing up unused commercial space for conversion into new homes, through the easing of planning constraints, the Government is breathing new life into City-Centres and encouraging more people to make their homes in the centre of towns. It also means that better use will be made of existing Brownfield sites, while preserving green spaces.
If you have any questions, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with our property tax team.