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The Housing White Paper – what does it mean for you?

The long-awaited Housing White Paper has been published by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The White Paper is entitled “Fixing our broken housing market” and contains a raft of proposals affecting the sector.

What is in the White Paper?

Some key messages and commitments from the White Paper are as follows:

  • The Homes and Communities Agency will be rebranded “Homes England” and will e tasked with getting homes built directly on public sector land, encouraging more competition and embracing partnerships.
  • The Help to Buy Equity Loan will be extended to 2021.
  • There will be an amendment to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to clarify the criteria for Starter Home ownerships.
  • There will not be a mandatory requirement for all developments to consist of a minimum of 20% Starter Homes. Starter Homes are to be delivered as part of a mixed package of Affordable Housing. However, the NPPF will be amended to introduce a policy expectation of 10% affordable home ownership units on development sites.
  • The NPPF will be amended to allow more brownfield land to be released for developments with a higher proportion of Starter Homes.
  • Plan making is to be strengthened and simplified with a consultation due on standardising the approach to assessing housing requirements.
  • The DCLG will consult on measures to improve the transparency of contractual arrangements to control land, including option agreements and restrictive covenants.
  • A tightening of the exceptions in relation to development on Green Belt land is proposed so that Green Belt boundaries can only be amended where the authority has fully considered all other options, including optimising density, surplus public sector land and consulting with neighbouring authorities.
  • Where land is removed from the Green Belt, higher contributions may be collected.
  • Planning fees will be able to be increased by 20% from July 2017 and potentially by a further 20% where authorities have a track record of delivering homes.
  • The DCLG are to consider encouraging authorities to shorten the timescale for implementing planning permission from 3 years to 2 years. The White Paper says that they would welcome views on this, although no formal consultation is announced.
  • There will be consultations on ground rents, with a particular emphasis on leasehold houses.

The White Paper can be read in full by clicking here.

What does this mean?

The White Paper has the stated aim of “fixing” the UK’s housing market by increasing the number of houses being built across the country.

Whilst some of the proposals it contains are subject to consultation and, no doubt, debate, the general direction of travel is clear: the Government wants to see more homes being built, faster, and is looking at a range of ways to achieve this aim, which will have implications for anyone involved in the development sector.

We hope to bring you more detail shortly on some of these issues, and others included in the White Paper, along with a summary of the Government’s response to the CIL review that has also been published.

How can I find out more?

For further details about the Housing White Paper and its implications, please get in touch.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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