Tories pledge £12 billion to build 180,000 new homes as shake-up of planning laws unveiled

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed a new affordable housing plan worth £12 billion to support up to 180,000 homes to own and to rent over the next eight years.

In a major speech in Dudley on 30 June, Mr Johnson vowed to ‘build, build, build’ Britain out of the Coronavirus crisis.

Other measures which are part of his plan include:

– A 1,500 unit pilot of ‘First Homes’: houses that will be sold to first time buyers at a 30% discount. It is planned these discounts will stay and be passed on down the generations, aiming to keep the homes affordable.

– The West Midlands, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Liverpool City Region, Sheffield City Region, and North of Tyne and Tees Valley will receive a boost of around 24,000 new homes using funds from the £400 million Brownfield Land Fund.

– Smaller developers will be able to access finance for new housing developments and will receive an additional £450 million boost from the Home Builders Fund, a move expected to support around 7,200 new homes.

Mr Johnson said: “We will build fantastic new homes on brownfield sites and other areas that, with better transport and other infrastructure, could frankly be suitable and right for development.

“We will address that intergenerational injustice and help young people get on the housing ladder in the way that their parents and grandparents could.

“And it is to galvanise this whole process that this government will shortly bring forward the most radical reforms of our planning system since the end of the Second World War.”

As part of this shake-up, existing commercial properties, including newly vacant shops, can be converted into housing in a move to help kick start the construction industry.

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Changes to planning laws announced include:

– More types of commercial premises having flexibility regarding change of use. For example, a building used for retail would be able to permanently be used as a café or office without requiring a planning application and local authority approval.

– A wider range of commercial buildings will be allowed to change to residential use without the need for a planning application.

– Builders will no longer need a normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes.

– Property owners will be able to build additional space above their properties via a fast track approval process, subject to neighbour consultation.

These changes are planned to come into effect by September.

Read more about the current planning process. 

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