The government may be planning to relax housebuilding rules, cutting the number of affordable homes that developers are required to build.
Property Industry Eye stated: “According to The Times, levelling up secretary, Simon Clarke, has written to the prime minister with proposals to boost housebuilding.
“Reforms are said to include raising the threshold at which affordable homes must be built – from developments with 10 houses to those with 40 or even 50 houses – in a bid to boost small and medium-sized developers.
“Clarke is also reported to be considering ending a ban on building 100,000 homes in parts of Norfolk, Hampshire, Devon and the North East designed to protect wetland.”
Expanding the scope of permitted development rights?
Another proposal is to expand ‘permitted development rights’ so people can build extensions or add extra floors to their properties without planning consent. Advantage has previously looked at permitted development rights in a feature for PBC Today.
According to the Guardian, Clarke “will probably claim that creating new houses would be better to grow the British economy than reshuffling assets between older and younger generations, and wants to launch a charm offensive on voters who do not want new developments in their area – which would see him ‘fighting to turn nimbys into yimbys’”.
The Guardian has reportedly seen plans to reduce barriers for developers in England. The proposed measures include a bonfire of red tape pertaining to aspects of housing development such as EU rules, affordable housing, nutrient pollution and biodiversity improvements.
Abandoning the target of building 300,000 new homes a year
According to the Guardian, “government sources also said the target of building 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s had quietly been abandoned. They said it was unlikely to be officially abolished, as it had been a 2019 manifesto pledge, even though Truss hit out over the summer at ‘Soviet-style targets’”.
Back in 2019, Advantage wrote that the government was not on track to hit its ambitious housebuilding target, adding: “Housing consultancy Savills warns that the government will miss its target to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s unless it increases grant funding for affordable housing and stops depending on private sales.”
Three years ago, we were writing about whether the government was likely to hit its ambitious housebuilding target. Now it remains to be seen whether there’ll even be a target to work towards. Although the government’s appetite for affordable housebuilding may have declined significantly in recent months, the need for more affordable housing remains. And as the effects of rising inflation and interest rates continue to bite, making it harder for would-be buyers to secure a mortgage, the current (or future) PM is likely to find themselves under pressure to either re-commit to the previous housebuilding targets, or to outline a new plan for affordable housing.