The Government has set out a range of measures to reform the UK homebuilding planning system and help increase the number of new homes being built.

Housing developers will be encouraged to redevelop high streets, build upwards and construct homes above stations as part of an overhaul of the UK’s house planning system.

The Government will also launch a register of brownfield sites that could be used for housing, backed by £400 million to help bring the land back into use.

In a bid to ensure homes are built where they are most needed, all local authorities will be required to have up-to-date housing plans in place by December 2023 to ensure enough properties are built for their communities.

A consultation will also be launched on allowing housing developers to demolish vacant commercial, industrial and residential buildings without facing lengthy planning process delays to enable more homes to be delivered more quickly.

Other measures announced include putting good design at the centre of the planning process, a commitment to having lower carbon emissions for all new homes and a planning system that promotes tree-lined streets.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: "We must think boldly and creatively about the planning system to make it fit for the future, and this is just the first step, so we can deliver the homes communities need and help more young people onto the ladder."

Why is this happening?

The measures are part of an overhaul of the planning system that was announced in the Budget.

It is estimated that the UK needs to build 300,000 to 340,000 new homes a year just to keep pace with demand.

But annual new build figures consistently fall well short of this target.

Alongside the latest measures, the Government also plans to publish a White Paper later this year that will “radically reform” the planning system and speed up the decision-making process.

New-build homes

Who does it affect?

The fact that the Government is looking for ways to deliver more homes more quickly is good news for anyone who wants to get onto the housing ladder.

The current shortage of homes is putting upward pressure on prices, leading to stretched affordability in areas of high demand.

The focus on quality and design is also welcome, as in the past some new build properties have been criticised for being too small or not being the right property type to meet the needs of the local community.

But the announcement is the latest in a long line of initiatives to enable more homes to be built, and, despite a range of government measures, new-build housing numbers remain stubbornly below the level needed.

What’s the background?

The Budget included several measures to help increase housing availability, including £12 billion for the Affordable Homes Programme, which will offer both shared ownership properties and rental homes.

A further £1 billion will also be allocated to the Housing Infrastructure Fund to develop nearly 70,000 homes in nine different areas of the country.

People who want to build their own homes will also receive more help, as will parish councils and neighbourhood forums that want to build a small number of properties in their local communities.

Top 3 takeaways

1. Housing developers will be encouraged to redevelop high streets, build upwards and construct homes above stations as part of an overhaul of the UK’s planning system

2. The Government will launch a register of brownfield sites that could be used for housing, backed by £400 million to help bring the land back into use

3. Local authorities will also be required to have up-to-date housing plans in place by December 2023 to ensure enough properties are built for their communities

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