Landmark Housing and Planning Bill receives Royal Assent

New measures to help more people buy their own home and get houses built faster become law.

New measures to help more people buy their own home and get houses built faster became law today (13 May 2016) as the Housing and Planning Act received Royal Assent.

The Act sets out a clear determination from the government to keep the country building while giving hard working families every opportunity to unlock the door to home ownership.

It will give housebuilders and decision-makers the tools and confidence to provide more homes and further streamline the planning system to accelerate their delivery.

The measures include underpinning the voluntary Right to Buy agreement with housing associations, supporting the doubling of the number of custom and self-build homes by 2020, tackling rogue landlords and speeding up the neighbourhood planning process.

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said:

Our landmark Housing and Planning Act will help anyone who aspires to own their own home achieve their dream.

It will increase housing supply alongside home ownership building on the biggest affordable house building program since the 1970s.

The act will contribute to transforming generation rent into generation buy, helping us towards achieving our ambition of delivering 1 million new homes.

The Act will:

Help more people own their own home

  • help more people own their own home by extending Right to Buy level discounts to housing association tenants – measures underpinning the Voluntary Agreement with the National Housing Federation
  • place a duty on local planning authorities to actively promote the development of Starter Homes and embed them in the planning system

Get the nation building homes faster

  • unlock brownfield land to provide homes faster, requiring local authorities to prepare, maintain and publish local registers of specified land
  • support the doubling of the number of custom-built and self-built homes to 20,000 by 2020
  • ensure that every area has a local plan
  • reform the compulsory purchase process to make it clearer, fairer and faster
  • simplify and speed up neighbourhood planning

Ensure the way housing is managed is fair and fit for the future

  • require social tenants on higher incomes to pay fairer rents
  • place a duty on councils to consider selling their higher value housing assets when they fall vacant
  • tackle rogue landlords though a number of measures to give local authorities more powers
  • better local information on the private rented sector – allowing local authorities to access data held by the Tenancy Deposit Protection schemes
  • reduce the regulatory controls for private registered providers of housing to increase their freedoms to manage their housing stock efficiently and effectively
  • enable lead enforcement authority for estate agents

One response to “Landmark Housing and Planning Bill receives Royal Assent

  1. Steve Sawkins

    CPRE reports that Green Belt development is on the up
    Published: Thursday, 28th April 2016
    Latest research from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has identified that 275,000 houses are now planned for England’s Green Belt.
    The figures show an increase of 50,000 houses on last year and nearly 200,000 houses more than when the government introduced its planning reforms in March 2012.
    This analysis, based on draft and adopted local plans, is the latest to challenge the government’s commitment to the Green Belt.
    The report ‘Green Belt under siege’ pointed out that Communities Secretary Greg Clark recently decided that 1,500 new homes should be built on Green Belt between Gloucester and Cheltenham in one of the biggest such developments for a decade.
    This followed proposals in the government’s planning policy consultation to release small sites in the Green Belt for ‘starter homes’.
    CPRE’s report claimed that Green Belt boundaries are being changed to accommodate housing at the fastest rate for two decades in the year to 2015, 11 local authorities finalised boundary changes to accommodate development.
    The 275,000 houses now planned are an increase of 25 per cent on 2015, and almost double the 147,000 houses outlined for Green Belt locations in Labour’s 2009 regional plans. There is particular pressure in the Metropolitan and West Midlands Green Belt, stated the report.
    CPRE argued that Green Belt policy was gradually being weakened through loopholes in planning guidance. “Under pressure from government to set and meet high housing targets, councils are releasing Green Belt for new development through a misappropriated ‘exceptional circumstances’ clause.”
    At least three local authorities, Bradford, Durham and Northumberland, have claimed that economic growth justifies an ‘exceptional’ change to the Green Belt, noted the report.
    Paul Miner, planning campaign manager at CPRE, commented: “Councils are increasingly eroding the Green Belt to meet unrealistic and unsustainable housing targets. The government is proposing to encourage further development in the Green Belt. We need stronger protection for the Green Belt, not just supportive words and empty promises.”

    We are indeed fortunate that the general consensus of CPBC is to protect all Green Belt.

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