Councils are to be given powers to block
planning permissions from developers who have failed to deliver homes on the
same site, in a bid to speed up delivery of homes.
Builders will also be forced to
report annually to councils on the rate of build-out of sites, under new
planning amendments to the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill tabled by the
government on Friday. The amendments come amid political
concern about perceived land-banking and slow build-out rates by major
Ministers said the amendments,
which also included clauses designed to bring forward street votes and enact
ministers’ plans to force water companies to improve wastewater facilities,
will help to regenerate communities and deliver on the missions in the levelling
up white paper.
The amendments follow housing
secretary Michael Gove last week setting out a series of new principles he
wants developments to adhere to, under the acronym “Biden”, standing for:
beauty, infrastructure, democracy, environment, neighbourhoods.
The Department for Levelling Up,
Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said the amendments will follow the “Biden”
principles”. Housing minister Lucy Frazer MP added: “The measures we are
setting out today will put protecting the environment at the heart of our plans,
while bringing forward much needed new homes across the country.
“We will make sure that new development
is surrounded by the right infrastructure and that local people are given an
opportunity to shape their neighbourhood.”
The amendments come ahead of the
delayed report stage of the bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday this
The department did not reveal in
any detail how the amendments around encouraging developer build-out would
work, but in a statement said they were designed to “tackle slow build out by
developers to make sure much needed new homes are delivered”.
The statement said the amendment
proposed that developers will “have to report annually to councils on their
progress and councils will have new powers to block planning proposals from
builders who have failed to deliver on the same land”.
Previously, housebuilders have
argued when similar such measures have been proposed that they would tend to
reduce the number of homes being built, by making development more risky, and
making it harder to adapt developments to new economic situations.
A spokesperson for the Home
Builders Federation (HBF) said: “Repeated independent investigations
have concluded that house builders do not and bank. Having invested in land and
spent often hundreds of thousands of pounds securing planning permission
builders are always keen to get on site as soon as possible and get a return on
this investment but there are many influences over how quickly a site can be
“In an increasingly challenging
operating environment, made worse by the implications of the disastrous mini
budget, ministers should be working with industry and providing it with
confidence to invest in sites, not erecting more barriers.”
The amendments around water
quality are designed to help address the nutrient neutrality issues which are
holding up more than 100,000 homes in the planning pipeline across England,
according to the HBF. The amendments will enshrine in law an obligation on
water companies to upgrade wastewater treatment works, which the department
said would deliver an average 75% reduction in phosphorus loads and 55%
reduction in nitrogen loads from wastewater treatment works.
However, developers have already
said the proposals are insufficient, because they do nothing to tackle the
problem facing developers now.
The amendments on “street votes”
will, the department said, “give residents a new tool to propose additional
development on their street”, such as extensions to existing homes. Permission
for these developments will require an independent examiner to approve designs
and endorsement at a local referendum.
The department also tabled
amendments to allow the piloting of Community Land Auctions – a proposed method
for capturing value from land that has been allocated in the development plan
for local communities.
The amendments came as the
government announced it had allocated £35m from the £180m Brownfield Land
Release Fund 2 to 59 projects across 41 different councils, delivering up to
2,200 homes. The funding will see projects in Lancaster, Hull, Mid-Devon and
Great Yarmouth benefit from the funding programme, from which £77m has already
Announcing the funding, the
department said that “increasing housing supply is central to the levelling up
agenda and supports the government’s ongoing target to deliver 300,000 new
homes a year.”
Taken from an article in Property
Today 21 November 2022