Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Updated: Barwell moots increased borrowing powers for housing

  • Comment

Housing minster Gavin Barwell has indicated councils could be allowed to increase their borrowing cap for housing but only if they are delivering on the homes they have promised to build.

Mr Barwell has also mooted giving councils powers to force developers to complete schemes that have planning permission. 

Speaking at the District Councils Network conference today ahead of the publication of the government’s housing white paper, Mr Barwell raised the possibility that areas that are delivering on their local plans could be granted more flexibilities over the borrowing cap for housing.

He said: ”The Treasury has to have a view on the limits, but certainly where there are authorities that are delivering and are at that limit, I am open to a conversation.”  

Mr Barwell advocated caution on accusations of private developers ‘land banking’ sites, but said schemes should be completed quicker once building starts.

He said the government was considering a series of planning reforms that would significantly increase the rate of housebuilding, including measures to ensure every area has a local plan that is “honest” about the level of demand.

Mr Barwell said: “I am going to hold you to account on delivering that plan.

”Releasing land on its own is not going to solve the problem you have got to find a way to get developers to build these sites out - the white paper is going to have a lot to say about that.

”But having done that, then I am going to hold you to account for actually delivering.”

Mr Barwell add that the white paper, which had been expected last month, would address issues such as the under-resourcing of planning departments,  the “speed of discharge” of section 106 agreements and a more “common sense” approach to wildlife protection.

Later Local Government Association chair Lord Porter (Con) said the government was serious about councils building social housing again.

But he warned ministers were likely to start withdrawing powers from local government by the end of next year if it “fails to deliver”.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.