Gavin Barwell’s Own Summary of Housing White Paper

His Blog

Planning for the right homes in the right places

• Make sure every part of the country has an up-to-date, sufficiently ambitious plan so that local communities decide where development should go, not speculative applications.

• Simplify plan-making and make it more transparent so it’s easier for communities to produce plans and easier for developers to follow them.

• Ensure that plans start from an honest assessment of the need for new homes and that local authorities work with their neighbours so that difficult decisions are not ducked.

• Clarify what land is available for new housing through greater transparency over who owns land and the options held on it.

• Make more land available for homes in the right places by maximising the contribution from brownfield and surplus public land, regenerating estates, releasing more small and medium sized sites, allowing rural communities to grow and making it easier to build new settlements.

• Maintain existing strong protections for the Green Belt and clarify that Green Belt boundaries should be amended only in exceptional circumstances when local authorities can demonstrate that they have fully examined all other reasonable options for meeting their identified housing requirements.

• Give communities a stronger voice in the design of new housing to drive up the quality and character of new development, building on the success of neighbourhood planning.

• Make better use of land for housing by encouraging higher densities where appropriate, such as in urban locations where there is high housing demand, and by reviewing space standards.

Building homes faster

• Provide greater certainty for authorities that have planned for new homes and reduce the scope for local and neighbourhood plans to be undermined by changing the way that land supply for housing is assessed.

• Boost local authority capacity by increasing planning fees.

• Consult on deterring unnecessary appeals by introducing a fee (refunded if your appeal is successful).

• Ensure infrastructure is provided in the right place at the right time by coordinating Government investment and through the targeting of the £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund.

• Secure timely connections to utilities so that this does not hold up getting homes built.

• Support developers to build out more quickly by tackling unnecessary delays caused by planning conditions, facilitating the strategic licensing of protected species and exploring a new approach to how developers contribute to infrastructure.

• Take steps to grow the construction workforce.

• Speed up build out by encouraging modern methods of construction in house-building.

• Speed up build out on surplus public sector sites through our Accelerated Construction programme that can build homes more quickly than traditional builders.

• Having addressed the things that developers say slow them up, hold them to account for the delivery of new homes through better and more transparent data and sharper tools for local authorities to drive up delivery.

• Having given them extra powers, hold local authorities to account through a new housing delivery test.

Diversifying the market

• Help small and medium-sized builders to grow through the Home Building Fund and supporting development on small sites.

• Support custom-build homes with greater access to land and finance, giving more people more choice over the design of their home.

• Bring in new contractors through our Accelerated Construction programme.

• Encourage more institutional investors into housing, including for building more homes for private rent with family friendly tenancies.

• Support housing associations to deliver more homes through a package of measures.

• Ensure the public sector plays its part by encouraging more building by councils and changing the way the Homes and Communities Agency operates.

Helping people now

• Continue to support people to buy their own home through Help to Buy and launching Starter Homes.

• Help households who are priced out of the market to afford a decent home that is right for them through our investment in the Affordable Homes Programme, which delivers homes for shared ownership, rent to buy and affordable homes for rent.

• Make renting fairer for tenants.

• Take action to promote transparency and fairness for the growing number of leaseholders.

• Improve neighbourhoods by continuing to crack down on empty homes and support areas most affected by second homes.

• Encourage the development of housing that meets the needs of an ageing population.

• Help the most vulnerable who need support with their housing, developing a sustainable and workable approach to funding supported housing in the future.

• Do more to prevent homelessness by supporting households at risk before they reach crisis point as well as reducing rough sleeping.


The Sun – Housing White Paper – will ‘remind [developers] they are now allowed to build on the green belt’

The Sun

LAND will be seized from fat cat developers if they fail to build on it in time, under radical new powers to be unveiled tomorrow.

Councils will also be able to slap orders on firms to finish plots within two years, or lose their planning permission.

The housing white paper, published in Parliament today, will also;

  • propose tough new criteria on councils in high demand areas to calculate how many new homes they must build every five years

  • remind them they are now allowed to build on the green belt in “exceptional circumstances” that there is no room left in towns to fulfil new quotas

  • allow taller buildings to go up in towns, to see more ‘high density’ mansion blocks erected

  • introduce a £3bn new loan fund for smaller builders to give them a bigger share of the housing market

Javid’s Numbers Don’t Add up – Avoiding ‘tearing up countryside’ needs 16+ storeys not 4

Javid in Daily Mail

Having a safe, secure place to call your own is something many of us take for granted. Yet with the average house now costing eight times average earnings, many of our children and grandchildren have found the door to the housing market slammed shut in their faces.

The only way to open it again is by building a lot more houses. But as today’s White Paper makes clear, we don’t have to tear up our precious countryside to do so.

We’re simply not making the best use of the space that’s available. London, for example, is much less densely populated than European equivalents such as Paris, Berlin and Rome. Madrid is a beautiful city of low-rise buildings and broad boulevards, yet every hectare is home to 3.5 times as many people as the same space in the British capital.

But increasing density doesn’t mean filling our towns and cities with huge, ugly tower blocks packed with tiny one-bed rabbit hutches.

After all, some of the most densely populated parts of London are places such as Kensington and Chelsea, home to extremely desirable mansion blocks, mews houses and grand terraced streets. There’s plenty of scope for building more of the high-quality homes people want to live in, in places where they want to live. We just have to be more imaginative.

Look at your railway station. The chances are it’s in a built-up area where demand for housing is high, yet it’s also quite likely to be surrounded by under-used or derelict land that would be perfect for housing.

Maybe that’s warehouses that could be better situated elsewhere, or car parks that could be moved underground. Elsewhere, buildings could be extended upwards by a floor or two to increase capacity without ruining skylines.

Creating more homes in the hearts of our towns and cities will also revitalise our high streets. I grew up above the family shop on the high street in Bristol, and loved being able to walk out of the door into a thriving, buzzing community.

Getting more people living in town centres, within walking distance of shops, pubs and cafes, won’t just create lively new communities – it will provide a much-needed boost for local businesses.

Add in serious support for new infrastructure – from GP surgeries to playgrounds – and it’s clear our built-up areas are home to huge untapped potential. The plans I’m publishing today show how we can make them home to thousands of ordinary working people too.


This is nonsense.  By all means build at higher densities, but if you want to do mainly mansion blocks not tower blocks (and most development in the SE is at mansion block density anyway so what difference will it make – without ‘tearing up the countrtyside his numbers just dont add up). Indeed his policy sound suspiciously like that adopted by Hammersmith Torys before they lost there majority which was seeking a REDUCTION in density from the norm in London.

I did a detailed analysis of this before the weekend here  ill repost below:

Sun on HWP

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.

Simple simple maths on Stock and Flow for Theresa May and her Sith Aides (there can be only two). 

How many housing units gets built on brownfield each year?

The last data we have from 2014 showed that 60% of new residential address built in 2013-14 were constructed on previously developed land. It falls to 45% for net additional addresses.  This figure has risen to that which it was for several years before the recession.  So we can assume it will be steady in the future in a ‘policy off’ scenario

Of course sites become ‘previously developed’ all the time – and CPRE point out that NLUD data on available site remains static – so that suggests a steady ‘inflow’ of brownfield sites roughly matching the ‘outflow’.

Last year around 170,000 houses were built.   Again assuming a ‘policy change off’ scenario that equates to around 76,000 houses per year brownfield and brownfield land suitable and available for housing of around the same number.

So that’s the flows in and out whats the stock.

The NLUD data now rather out of date and dating back to 2010 suggest 325,000 or so.  In 2015 the Dept finally agreed to update it and provide a brownfield register which we have not seen yet.

CPRE always claimed a figure of 1 1/2 million before 2014, not the need over 15 years is 3 million.  To their credit they commissioned research estimating it at around 1 million.  However most of this land was that already with planning permission and so not net additional supply.  So if we dont have 5 year supplies things were only going to get worse not better.

They estimated a further 550,000 homes can be located on suitable vacant or derelict land.  This is the figure that should be quoted.  Being generous lets use it.

So lets assume in our neutral forecast we have a brownfield ‘stock’ which is being added to by around 76,000 (land for equivalent housing units)/annum and being depleted by 76,000 units/annum.

Accepting the HWP target of 300,000 units per annum (which including drawing down backlog and restoring affordability to 1997 levels) then 25% of the houses we need are being developed on Brownfield Sites. But the shortfall will have risen by 300,000-175,000=125,000.

Lets assume two policy scenarios.

In scenario one brownfield development stays static and all increase come from greenfield.

In the other the rate of brownfield development doubles to around 150,000/annum.

In the first 75% of all housing must come on greenfield sites to meet the target.

In the second 175,000 a year in first year is brownfield, 58%, so 125,000 greenfield units must be built, a 75% increase on the current number of houses built on Greenfield.

But that rate cant be sustained because the stock is depleting by 500,000-175,000+76,000=  around 100,000/annum.  So within 5 years the stock is depleted to only 76,000 /annum of new brownfield sites coming forward.

The numbers dont add up.  Even in a heroic assumption of brownfield development doubling over night most of it would be used up in 5 years leaving only a trickle of new brownfield sites which would never run out and provide only 25% of the supply we need.  In this context ‘Brownfield first’ if applied extremely as in the phrase ‘filled up’ would mean 75% of those needing a home would be without one.

There are policy alternatives

  1. build all brownfield sites at 4x the density requiring public subsidy if necessary and families being forced (at point of a gun?) to move to areas with more brownfield sites- like milltowns with few jobs.
  2. Increasing the rate at which brownfield sites come forward by 4x redeveloping all employment sites assuring those forced to move at a point of a gun have no job to move to even if they could move freely (which of Course Theresa Maybe doesn’t like).
  3. Dont build housing if it means building on greenfield – reduce housing targets by 75% and everybody lives in bunk beds in their mums house.

Its a none starter policy reminiscent of the early policies of John Prescott which failed and which will be forced by the continuing housing crisis to be reversed.

So Javid to avoid ‘tearing up thecountryside’ requires a 4X of density.  Typcially 4-8 storeys in London becomes 16-32 – Chinese City heights.

Less than that requires an increase in both the rate and % of development of greenfield sites or the elimination of employment space in London- no way around this.

BTW Sajid cities are good places for warehouses otherwise our roads would be full of trucks making longer deliveries and further ruining our air quality targets.

Daily Mail -Government is reintroducing National Housing Targets

Of course they were never national – local authorities set them themselves collectively in groupings

Daily Mail

Councils will be ordered to give permission for hundreds of thousands more homes today as part of Government plans to fix the ‘broken’ housing market.

Today’s move effectively reintroduces national housing targets after they were scrapped by the Coalition Government in 2010.

The move puts ministers on collision course with countryside campaigners, who warn that England’s green belt land is already ‘under siege’.

Writing in the Daily Mail today, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid says the move is needed to end the situation where thousands of young families ‘have found the door to the housing market slammed in their face’.

The changes are the centrepiece in today’s long-awaited housing White Paper, which is designed to deliver on Theresa May’s pledge to tackle the housing crisis.


John Healy White Paper – ‘Feeble Beyond Belief’


Councils will be ordered to build thousands more homes, with an emphasis on high-rise blocks and city centre developments, as part of the government’s housing strategy.

Too few councils have plans to meet the unprecedented housing demand, the government will say, with 40% of local planning authorities lacking an adequate plan for building new homes to meet the projected growth in household numbers.

New centralised standards will be set for local councils to project their future housing needs, with the expectation that the plans will be reviewed every five years. The DCLG did not respond to requests for information on how cash-strapped councils would finance the projections to meet the new standards.

In the housing white paper to be released on Tuesday, the communities secretary, Sajid Javid, will also cut the legal requirement for developers to start building from three years from when planning permission is granted to just two.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said the plans would tackle “the serious and growing gap between the number of planning permissions granted and the number of new homes completed”. A source in the department added that identifying housing requirements was particularly complex, lacked transparency but councils would be consulted on a new approach.

“Walk down your local high street today and there’s one sight you’re almost certain to see,” Javid will say. “Young people, faces pressed against the estate agent’s window, trying and failing to find a home they can afford. With prices continuing to sky rocket, if we don’t act now, a whole generation could be left behind. We need to do better, and that means tackling the failures at every point in the system.

Households who own their own homes have fallen by 200,000 since 2010, with the number of under-35s owning their own homes falling by 344,000. Almost a million more households are now renting from private landlords since the coalition came to power.

The shadow housing secretary, John Healey, called the plans “feeble beyond belief” and said the government’s record on home-building over the past five years spoke for itself.

“After seven years of failure and 1,000 housing announcements, the housing crisis is getting worse, not better,” he said. “There are 200,000 fewer homeowners, homelessness has doubled, and affordable house-building has slumped to a 24-year low.”

Housing minister Gavin Barwell also promised over the weekend that the white paper would include incentives for older people to sell big family homes and plans for more sheltered housing schemes.

Building more homes, close to city centres and transport hubs is the only way to halt the decline in affordability, Javid will say. Key proposals in the white paper will include:

  • Requiring councils to publish “realistic” projections for future housing demands and review them every five years.
  • A drive for developers to “build higher” where there is a shortage of land, especially in areas close to key public transport hubs
  • Slashing the timescales for housebuilding, including requiring developers to start building within two years, rather than three.
  • Plans to force more transparency on developers, who will be required to show how quickly they will start new developments

Greenbelt protections must remain apart from in exceptional circumstances, Javid will say. Instead, councils will be ordered to prioritise the regeneration of derelict developments in city centres.

“That means high-quality housing for families in town centres, breathing new life back into our high streets, turning abandoned shopping centres into new communities and increasing density of housing around transport hubs to build homes that people want to live in,” the plan will say.

New measures will also be considered to protect buyers from so-called “leasehold abuse” where punishing ground rate and service charges increase during the lease period, traded with leaseholders left powerless to influence the costs.

Renters who cannot afford to save for a deposit must be given a wider choice, the white paper will say. The government plans to relax restrictions on funding for the affordable homes programme, originally designed for shared ownership building, so developers can build homes for rentals, including rent to buy schemes.

Planning rules will be overhauled so councils can plan to build more long-term homes for rent and encouraging more stable, longer-term tenancies to be offered by landlords.

The white paper also outlines plans to break the dominance of some developers, in a marketplace where 60% of new homes are built by just 10 companies.

The £3bn home building fund, previously announced by Javid at the Conservative party conference last year, will provide loans to small developers, custom builders and offsite construction with the aim of diversifying the market, DCLG said.

A ‘Presumption in Favour of Housing on Suitable Brownfield Sites’ in White Paper

From Inside Housing SPAD briefing

Media preview

HBF got there way – but what does it mean – a presumption you can redevelopment any shop, community facility, built sports facility, hospital or employment space as housing – which would be disastrous, or does ‘suitable’ mean ‘in line with policy’ as the NPPF already gives a presumption in favour of development when plans are out of date – Greenfield or Brownfield.

Beijing to reduce land zoned for development and cap population


Beijing’s new mayor has vowed to gut the city of all functions unrelated to its status as national capital, in an effort to push the growing population into the surrounding provinces.

The city’s functions would be reduced “like peeling off cabbage leaves”, with the economy and cityscape restructured to make it “leaner and more efficient”, Cai Qi said.

Asian states have historically moved capitals when they have become too crowded and have depleted local resources. Most recently, Myanmar and Kazakhstan have built new capitals from scratch, moving the government away from historic commercial cities that were the traditional centres of power. But Mr Cai, a rising political star, may be the first to seek to move the city away from the capital.

Its population expanded rapidly after the Communist party took power in 1949 and created the headquarters of a Leninist state. The population boomed again in the reform era, as relaxation of China’s strict hukou, or residency, regulations combined with a property bubble near the centre of power.

Almost 22m people now live in Beijing or surrounding satellite cities, up from 4m in 1950 and 9m in 1980. Most of the ancient city’s unique architecture and distinct hutongs, or lanes, have been bulldozed to make way for highways, shopping malls, office buildings and state-owned banks and enterprises.

The result has been traffic jams, increasing strain on water resources, and rising public dissatisfaction with the city’s choking pollution.

Mr Cai said he would reduce Beijing’s land zoned for construction and cap the city’s population at 23m.

Administrative action could temporarily reduce the city’s population, says Dai Qing, an environmental activist who has long argued that Beijing’s growth is dangerously depleting its underground aquifers. “But if you don’t restructure the system whereby interests and resources are concentrated in the capital, people will come flooding back in.”

Mr Cai’s announcement is a twist on central government plans revealed in 2014 to shift some of the national bureaucracy to Baoding, a nearby military and industrial city that was denoted the nation’s most polluted that year.

Plans to develop the “Jing-Jin-Ji” area (a shorthand for Beijing, the port city of Tianjin and the surrounding province of Hebei) have resulted in economic stimulus and new property development across the region.

They have been accompanied by campaigns within Beijing to tear down neighbourhood shops and wholesale markets where migrant workers work, in an attempt to force lower-income residents out of the city. Schools have closed their doors to the children of migrants. The number of new migrants to Beijing halved in 2015.

Areas that have been cleared would not see new construction, and would instead be turned into green and public space, Mr Cai vowed.

Beijing has also encouraged its universities to develop new campuses in satellite cities.

Hollowing out the city may help Mr Cai in his December pledge to prevent property prices in Beijing from rising this year. On Monday he also vowed to cut coal use in the capital by 30 per cent. The city is phasing out its last coal-fired power plant in favour of a gas-fired plant. It already sources much of its power from the smoke-shrouded city of Zhangjiakou, four hours’ drive to the north-west, which will host the Winter Olympics in 2022.