Government Tells Local Authorities to Get Building

17th March, 2020

Build over railways

The UK Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has recently published proposals to inspire more house building in town centres and above railway stations.

From next month, the government are going to be launching a register of sites or land, currently unused, to encourage councils to push on and develop these areas first.

Vacant industrial, residential and commercial buildings which developers are wanting to be demolished and replaced with housing projects, will be fast-tracked under the new plans being consulted on by the housing ministry.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has signified new funding for an expansion of the Affordable Homes Programme with a new settlement of £12bn, and a further £1bn allocated for the Housing Infrastructure Fund to build around 70,000 new homes within high demand areas throughout the country.

The government is wanting local councils to investigate options for housing regeneration of high streets, such as building upwards on already developed land. They have also stated that it is important to make the most of existing transport areas and encourage development close to public transport.

Robert Jenrick said, “We must think boldly and creatively about the planning system to make it fit for the future, and this is just the first step, so we can deliver the homes communities need and help more young people onto the ladder.”

Both the House Builders Association (HBA) and the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) have come out in support of the government’s plans and welcomed the new proposals.

Rico Wojtuewic, head of housing and planning at HBA said “After five years of asking the government to build within communities, map brownfield land, digitise planning and ensure actual housing need is being met, these and other announcements prove that the government is listening to the wider industry. We have a long way to go but this a great first step and welcomed news.”

Whereas John Alker, director of policy and places at UKGBC said, “We welcome the focus on good design, greener homes and sustainable placemaking in today’s statement. As we have seen from the recent Housing Audit project, sadly the majority of new housing does not achieve the standards required to address the environmental or social challenges we face. It is vital that quantity goes hand in hand with quality, a point which appears to have been acknowledged in today’s announcement.”