Philip Hammond has promised fresh steps from the government to accelerate the planning process and make easier to create new homes by adding new storeys to existing buildings.
A written statement, published to accompany the chancellor of the exchequer’s Spring Statement today, states that the government will outline a series of measures over the next coming months to help deliver the government’s target of 300,000 new homes per annum.
- Introducing new planning guidance to support a more diverse mix of housing on large plots in line with the conclusion of the government commissioned Letwin review that greater differentiation of housing types and tenures will boost build out rates on such sites.
- Introducing a package of reforms to allow greater change of use between premises, and a new ‘fast track’ permitted development right to allow upwards extension of existing buildings to create new homes.
- A new green paper setting out proposals on how greater capacity and capability, performance management and procedural improvements can accelerate the planning process.
Alongside reforms to planning, Mr Hammond also announced moves to promote greater sustainability in the built environment.
These include a new Future Homes Standard requiring from 2025 that all new build homes will have to be fitted with low carbon heating and “world leading” levels of energy efficiency.
And the chancellor said that that the government will introduce rules requiring that developments bigger than ten homes augment natural biodiversity rather than reduces it.
The chancellor’s announcement on new planning rules for encouraging biodiversity was strongly criticised by the Federation of Master Builders, which represents SME building companies.
Brian Berry, the body’s chief executive, said: “Today the chancellor claimed to support housing delivery but actions speak louder than words and the burdensome and poorly thought-through biodiversity targets for developers will bring yet more costs and more delays for builders.
“Needless to say, this would also create delays to projects by adding additional hurdles for builders to negotiate during the already bureaucratic planning process.
“Rather than hampering the building of new homes, if the government wants to be ‘more green’, it should focus instead on retrofitting the more than 24 million homes that have already been built and which account for around one fifth of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. This will not only help reduce the UK’s carbon footprint but will also tackle the scourge of fuel poverty.”