Press Release: Prime Minister: Councils must deliver local plans for new homes by 2017

DCLG

Councils must produce local plans for new homes in their area by 2017 – or the government will ensure, in consultation with local people, those plans are produced for them.

  • Landmark Housing and Planning Bill will help deliver government ambition of one million homes by 2020
  • Councils must produce local plans for new homes by 2017 – or government will ensure plans are produced for them
  • Government confirms measures to deliver 200,000 Starter Homes, offer 1.3 million tenants the Right to Buy and cut red tape to boost home building

While 82% of councils have published local plans – which should set out how many homes they plan to deliver over a set period – only 65% have fully adopted them, and there are still almost 20% of councils that do not have an up to date plan at all.

Find out what government schemes are available to open the doors to owning your own home at www.ownyourhome.gov.uk.

Today, the Prime Minister is making crystal clear that he expects all councils to create and deliver local plans – making sure they take action to help reach the government’s ambition of delivering 1 million homes by 2020.

The Prime Minister unveiled the proposals ahead of the publication of the Housing Bill which will help deliver 1 million homes by 2020 – a key part of the government’s pledge to deliver security, stability and opportunity to the British people.

And it comes just days after the Prime Minister and housing associations reached an historic agreement to extend the Right to Buy to 1.3 million additional tenants from as early as next year – a clear signal of the government’s plans to give all hardworking people the opportunity to unlock the door to home ownership.

The bill spells out a series of further proposals to boost homebuilding and home ownership, including:

  • new affordable Starter Homes – a new legal duty will be placed on councils to guarantee the delivery of Starter Homes on all reasonably sized new development sites, and to promote the scheme to first-time buyers in their area. The government is also announcing today that local authorities will be able to bid for a share of a £10 million Starter Homes fund – part of a £36 million package to accelerate the delivery of starter homes – by helping councils prepare brownfield sites that would otherwise not be built for starter homes.
  • automatic planning permission in principle on brownfield sites – to build as many homes as possible while protecting the green belt
  • planning reforms to support small builders – placing a new duty on councils to help allocate land to people who want to build their own home
  • selling off high value vacant assets – which will be reinvested in building new affordable homes

In other boosts for house building today, the PM is also announcing that a temporary rule introduced in May 2013 allowing people to convert disused offices into homes without applying for planning permission will be made a permanent change – after almost 4,000 conversions were given the go ahead between April 2014 to June this year.

And, thanks to a new website launching on Monday morning, prospective homeowners will now be able to go online to www.ownyourhome.gov.ukto see what government schemes are available to open doors for them.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

A Greater Britain must mean more families having the security and stability of owning a home of their own. My government will do everything it can to help people buy a place of their own – at the heart of this is our ambition to build 1 million new homes by 2020.

Many areas are doing this already – and this is great – but we need a national crusade to get homes built and everyone must play their part.

Councils have a key role to play in this by drawing up their own local plans for new homes by 2017. But if they fail to act, we’ll work with local people to produce a plan for them.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said:

Our homes don’t just shelter us, they shape us – which is why most people want to own a home of their own.

During the last 5 years we’ve brought housebuilding back from the brink, from its lowest levels since the 1920s, by reforming the planning system so we now have over 240,000 homes receiving permission.

To maintain that momentum we all need to play our part and I’m determined to ensure that local as well as central government take the steps needed to deliver the homes this country needs.

Local plans

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) – which reinforced the role of local plans – was introduced in 2012 as a way of cutting back on red tape and endless planning documents to focus on what people care about: local roads, schools and homes that meet their needs.

In their plans, councils are required to produce an annual trajectory of how many homes they plan to build in their area – usually over a period of around 15 years. They must also be reviewed regularly – usually every 5 years – and give local people more of a say on where new developments go and what they look like.

And they clearly work – before March 2012 the average number of homes planned for by local authorities stood at 573 per year. Our reforms put local plans and housing delivery at the heart of the planning system. This has helped fuel the housing pipeline with those local plans published after the reforms containing on average 717 homes per year – a 25% increase.

Following today’s announcement, if councils fail to produce and bring into force an up to date plan for new homes by 2017, we will work with local people to ensure one is drawn up. Ministers will shortly be bringing forward further details of how best to intervene when councils have failed to get started on their plans.

Owning your own home

The PM is also today launching ‘Own Your Home’, his major homeownership campaign, with a brand new online portal to help people find the right home buying scheme for them.

According to the British Social Attitudes Survey, 86% of people aspire to own their own home, and the new Own Your Home campaign will help direct people to the best scheme tailored made for their needs. The Own Your Home campaign will help people find their way through this content and take them to more information about the schemes that could help them open their own front door.

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