Housing Planning Bill 2015-16

Tuesday 20 October 2015

A new Housing and Planning Bill was introduced to Parliament on 13 October 2015 which forms the biggest shake up in housing and planning for quite some time.

The new Housing and Planning Bill 2015-16 sets out a number of measures which include:

  • New affordable Starter Homes – a new legal duty will be placed on councils to guarantee the provision of 200,000 Starter Homes on all reasonably sized new development sites; these will be offered to first-time buyers at a 20% discount on market prices.
  • Local Plans – providing the government with targeted powers to ensure that all councils get Local Plans in place by 2017, so they can help provide the homes their communities need.
  • Pay to Stay – ensuring that those tenants on higher incomes who are living in social housing have a rent that reflects their ability to pay, while those who genuinely need support continue to receive it.
  • Automatic planning permission in principle on brownfield sites – to bring forward more land to build new homes quicker, while protecting the green belt.
  • Planning reforms to support small builders – placing a new duty on councils to help allocate land so 20,000 custom and self-built homes a year can be built by 2020.
  • Measures to tackle rogue landlords – giving councils the power to blacklist, and in extreme cases ban those who don’t abide by the law, while helping decent landlords recover abandoned homes quicker.
  • Ensuring high value assets are managed effectively – ensuring the sale of high value council assets that can be used to support people into home ownership.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis called it the start of a national crusade to transform generation rent into generation buy saying it sends "a clear signal that the government would keep the country building while giving hard-working families every opportunity to unlock the door to home ownership".

We welcome the introduction of the Housing and Planning Bill in Parliament. Of course, many of the measures contained within the Bill come as no surprise as we have known about a number of the measures for some time now. It is testament to the importance of housing in the current national political debate, that the plans have been central components of speeches made by Government since they were first announced in the Queen’s Speech in May 2015.

Mark Hayward, managing director, NAEA comments: “The introduction of the Housing and Planning Bill today is a small, but important move that is needed to try and bring our housing market out of crisis. The introduction of 200,000 new ‘affordable’ Starter Homes is a step in the right direction for FTBs, but still falls short of the amount of house building required to help buyers across the UK. Although the starter homes will offer a discount of 20% on market prices, this is still far from affordable in a market where house prices continue to shoot up on a daily basis – meaning that the majority of buyers wishing to take their first steps on the ladder will continue to feel pushed out.

“The Bill also includes the well-publicised extension of the Right to Buy to Housing Associations. We were pleased with the announcement made by the Communities Secretary, Greg Clark, earlier this week, who has said that the 1.3 million housing association homes made available for purchase under this scheme, will be replaced on a one-for-one basis, thus actually increasing supply in the housing market. However it is important that these replacement homes are built within the same local authority boundaries in urban areas where the original home was sold. The Government cannot look at conurbations, such as London, as whole entities and must ensure that housing stock is retained and grown evenly across city regions.”