The supply and demand crisis in the UK has been worsening over the past decade as house prices continue to climb exponentially and many people find themselves priced off the housing ladder. Despite the Government’s best efforts to alleviate this pressure by introducing schemes such as Help to Buy and removing stamp duty fees on properties under £300,000 for first-time buyers, the demand for new homes still far exceeds supply across the country.
One major barrier to building for many house builders is the outdated planning system in the UK. Gaining planning permission for new developments is time-consuming and can delay construction for months or even years. When developments are held up like this and demand for homes is only growing, the problem gets worse.
The Government announced landmark changes to the planning system in the UK this month in a bid to simplify the system and speed up the process for house builders. These changes come amid efforts to reinvigorate the housing market following the huge economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and aim to get Britain building once again. The aim is to promote the construction of high-quality, sustainable homes and will be at the heart of “the most significant reforms to housing policy in decades” according to the Government website.
At the forefront of many people’s concerns when it comes to planning is the impact it will have on green space and the local environment. Within the reforms, the Government have laid out plans to continue the protection of our valued green spaces by allowing for more building on brownfield land and ensuring all new streets are tree lined.
New land categories have also been announced that will separate land into groups for growth, renewal or protection. Land that has been designated for growth will “empower development” with new homes, schools, shops and offices gaining automatic approval for development, while land designated for renewal will work with an “approval in principle” approach. Land designated for protection will include green belt land and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).
With more information due to be released on the reforms soon, we will continue to keep you abreast of the developments and what this could mean for strategic land in the future.
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