Sun – Biggest Leak of Housing White Paper Proposals So Far

The Sun

THERESA May is to force councils to build hundreds of thousands more homes a year in the most radical housing shake-up in 50 years.
The PM will target inner-city sites, stop big developers sitting on empty land and allow more prefabs to solve the homes crisis.

She aims to unblock the development logjam with a blueprint containing two particularly controversial elements.

The first will relax long-standing height restrictions based on light, allowing home owners and developers to extend or build houses as high as the existing tallest property on their block without special planning permission.

The second will see local authorities told the green belt is no longer sacrosanct for development. They will be encouraged to start building on it once brownfield sites have been filled.

No10 is braced for a bitter revolt among Tory shire backbenchers over the moves in the long-expected Housing white paper.

The plans, drawn up by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and Downing Street aides, are expected to be published next Tuesday.

MPs, charities and developers familiar with the Government’s thinking also disclosed the blueprint will:

  • TARGET open inner-city sites for development, such as railway station car parks which will move underground;
  • END the scourge of “land banking” by stopping fat cat developers from sitting on sites by either withdrawing planning permission or issuing the threat of compulsory purchase orders;
  • OPEN up development sites to many more small builders, who have been locked out by the big firms’ market dominance and lack of credit access
  • RESERVE sites for prefab builds, which can be erected far quicker but finished to look no different to brick buildings.

A key part of the plan is to demand councils in high pressure areas come up with far more ambitious building targets.

And if they fail, Whitehall will impose strict five-year quotas on them.

Until now some “not in my back yard” councils have infuriated ministers by hiding behind loopholes and falling well short on granting enough planning requests.

The average house price nationwide is 7.7 times annual wages.

In some parts prices are 12 times the value of annual wages, making it impossible for many to get on the housing ladder.

Ministers want to hit a target of 300,000 new homes a year to keep pace with Britain’s mushrooming population, as well as a Tory pledge to build a million new homes by 2020.

Mrs May will next week personally champion the house building revolution as the boldest reform yet in her agenda to deliver for the “Just Managings” who suffer most from unaffordable mortgages and rent.

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