At the first Conservative Party Conference since their re-election in May 2015, the Prime Minister announced a “national crusade to get homes built”. Home ownership formed a key theme in Mr Cameron’s speech, and he proclaimed a “need for a dramatic shift in housing policy” in order to make it easier for developers to build starter homes.
Mr Cameron had previously declared intentions to construct 200,000 starter homes by 2020, and in order to achieve this objective the Prime Minister announced a revamp of planning rules in order to put low-cost home ownership on an equal footing with rented housing, signifying that developers will need to provide affordable homes to buy (rather than just to rent) in future mid-sized sites. This will be compensated for by an exemption from the Community Infrastructure Levy and the requirement for Planning Obligation Agreements (s106).
He also revealed plans to extend the Right to Buy Policy to housing association tenants, indicating that Greg Clark (Communities Secretary) had secured a deal to this effect with housing associations.
Mr Cameron’s speech can be viewed in full here.
This builds on The Productivity Plan launched by the government in July 2015 to reform and increase productivity and growth in the property sector (amongst others) by streamlining areas identified as inhibiting efficient growth and development. It is hoped that the proposed reforms may herald an injection of energy into the housing, building and construction industry in the region.
The Productivity Plan focuses in particular on the following areas:
- Planning and Development
- Brownfield Land Register –creating a statutory register to identify, register and earmark Brownfield Land for development
- Compulsory Purchase and Housing
- More Streamlined Planning Process
- Strengthening Local Enterprise Partnerships
- Targeting Rural Areas – focusing on the development of transport, planning improvements and broadband
Further information on the Productivity Plan will be set out in our forthcoming Commercial Property newsletter.
If you are seeking legal advice regarding any of the issues raised in the blog above then please visit our Commercial Property page for more information.