New housing and planning package aims to boos

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News article

New housing & planning package aims to boost construction sector

September 2012

planning & construction news

The government has today announced a major incentive for growth in the construction and development sector to act as a focus for the Coalition’s joint programme over the next two and a half years.

Measures to be included in the package are:
 
  • A commitment to the building of up to 70,000 new homes (including affordable housing) which it is estimated will generate 140,000 construction sector jobs
  • New opportunities for first time buyers to get on the property ladder
  • A £40 billion guarantee for major infrastructure projects and £10 billion for new homes.  The debts of housing associations and private sector developers is to be guaranteed through a new Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill.
More detailed measures will include:
 
  • The removal of financial obligations on house builders which led to 75,000 homes being left in limbo as commercially unviable projects. Affordable housing requirements will be removed where developers are able to demonstrate that these made a project unviable.
  • New capital funding of £300 million and the infrastructure guarantee will mean that up to 15,000 new affordable homes can be built and a further 5,000 currently empty homes returned to use.
  • Many strategic housing and larger commercial applications will be dealt with via a major infrastructure fast track decision making process.
  • A fast track appeal process will also deal with an increased number of applications
  • Where council planning departments have failed to improve the speed of the planning process and their decision making, ‘special measures’ to be introduced will mean that developers can opt to have their decision taken by the Planning Inspectorate.
  • Homeowners and businesses will benefit from a relaxation of the planning red regulations for a limited period which will allow them to extend properties without the need for planning permission.
Kay Davies, head of Fisher German’s planning team, comments: 'this is more positive news for clients with development sites, particularly where unrealistic contributions were being sought, it seems like the government have at last woken up to the strain that financial contributions have been exerting on viability. 

On a smaller scale the relaxation in permitted development rights should also free the burden of planning requirements and allow larger extensions as well as business developments to come forward.'
 
For further information, contact the planning team on 01530 412821.
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