Archive for January, 2016

On Target?

In January 2015 the BBC stated that the Labour Party’s 2007 national target of building 240,000 new homes per year by 2016 was ‘nowhere near’ being achieved.  The UK faced a housebuilding crisis.  The BBC cited two main reasons: the planning system and local opposition to building.  One year on, with national and regional housebuilding targets allegedly abolished, where do matters stand?

The Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly report that despite a drop in the number of houses being built, both are satisfied they will exceed targets to deliver affordable homes.  Northern Ireland reported a substantial increase in the number of houses built in 2015 but its housing crisis continues.

And England?  The Department for Communities and Local Government issued a consultation paper in December 2015 seeking views on proposed changes to the national planning policy in England.  Consultation ends 22 February 2016.

The paper proposes changes by (to quote):

  • Broadening the definition of affordable housing to expand its range of low cost housing opportunities for those aspiring to own their new home;
  • increasing the density of development around commuter hubs, to make more efficient use of land in suitable locations;
  • Supporting sustainable new settlements, development on brownfield land and small sites, and delivery of housing allocated in plans; and
  • Supporting delivery of starter homes.

We feel the most interesting proposal is ensuring “as much use as possible of brownfield land in driving up housing supply”.  Pursuant to the Housing and Planning Bill, the Government intends that local planning authorities should publish and maintain up-to-date registers of brownfield sites suitable for housing with the aim of 90% of brownfield land suitable for housing having planning permission by 2020.  Another target?