The Government recently announced that it intends to implement several measures to boost housebuilding (and the economy) in the UK.
The proposed measures that are will be of most interest to housbuilders include:
1. Implementing new legislation to enable housebuilders to launch appeals where development sites are commercially unviable due to the number of affordable homes that must be provided. Housebuilders who can prove that a council’s affordable housing requirements make the development unviable will see them removed;
2. Allowing the Planning Inspectorate to set aside existing section 106 agreement for three years, in favour of a new agreement with a reduced number of affordable homes;
3. Implementing new legislation to enable planning applications to be decided by the Planning Inspectorate where the local authority has a poor track record in processing decisions;
4. Implementing new legislation for Government debt guarantees of up to £40bn worth of major infrastructure projects and up to £10bn of new homes. The proposed Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on 6 September 2012, will include guaranteeing the debt of Housing Associations and private sector developers; and
5. A temporary three year increase in permitted development rights to enable extensions to be made to homes and businesses. Permitted development rights will also allow change of use from commercial to residential purposes.
The new legislation is expected to be introduced in early 2013, but, at the time of writing, this has yet to be confirmed.