The Government has committed to tackle the housing crisis with its proposed Housing and Planning Bill. The Bill, which has had its first reading in Parliament, includes proposals to enable the Government to meet its promise to help more people buy their own home. And what’s more, it puts custom build firmly on the agenda.
“The Housing Bill will kick-start a national crusade to get 1 million homes built by 2020. It’s an historic moment that will help deliver the homes hard-working people rightly deserve, transforming generation rent into generation buy,” said Housing Minister Brandon Lewis
The landmark Housing and Planning Bill includes several measures to facilitate self and custom build, including:
The changes proposed by the Bill will seriously transform England’s and Wales’ housing supply market, especially in terms of first time buyers that will revitalise the whole market, who will have access to homes at a 20% discount. This follows on from measures already put in place that underlines the Government’s commitment to housing. These include: the historic extension of Right To Buy to housing association tenants, which is thought to affect up to 1.3 million households; new measures to facilitate turning underused office space into homes; and the launch of a new website aimed at assisting aspiring home owners to buy their own home, at https://www.ownyourhome.gov.uk.
Chris Brown, Executive Chairman of Igloo Regeneration commented: “The Government is setting its sights too low in seeking only 80,000 custom build homes by 2020. Custom build has the potential to build an extra 100,000 homes a year and the Housing Bill delivers one more small step in the right direction.”
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The proposed Housing and Planning Bill looks all set to move the goal posts and trigger the largest house building programme seen since the post-war building programme. However, the Bill has a long way to go through Parliamentary process, which may yet erode some of its more swingeing proposals.
But while Government sees it as a “national crusade” it should be seen in the light that housing targets are just that. In fact, in September, the House of Lords Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment met to review why so many housing targets were missed, which reflects the disparity between the target and the reality.
However, if the reforms proposed are put in place, the Bill will draw together vital strands of the housing market that will help speed up supply, such as the provision of land and relaxations to planning, but the devil will be in the detail.