'Fixing our broken housing market’: Housing White Paper

07 Feb 2017
Fixing our broken housing market’, DCLG’s Housing White Paper, has been published today; it includes a series of consultation questions, with a Build to Rent (BtR) consultation issued alongside.
Responses to both have to be submitted by 2 May.
The White Paper broadly succeeds in bringing together all of the strands of England’s complex housing market, then connects them together so as to take a holistic approach to getting more homes built (and brought back into use). Most importantly, it is drafted in such a way that it reduces the risk of a hiatus in housebuilding – the Government should be praised for combining and putting forward its latest and extensive suggested measures for consultation over the next 3 months.
No new Planning Bill features and instead, the White Paper’s predominantly changed policy directions represent a sensible smoothing of the ‘rough edges’ of a planning system in England that saw nearly 200,000 net housing completions in the last year, despite only around one third of planning authorities having a post-National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) adopted local plan. The planning regime is now seen by Government as being more or less fit for purpose - or at least it will be by the end of the year, once the Neighbourhood Planning Bill is enacted and all of the proposed changes to the NPPF and national Planning Practice Guidance are made.
Developers will need to look carefully at the Government’s proposals on the measures to speed up housing delivery that include a default two year timescale for planning permission implementation, and more use of completion notices.   What is also noticeably missing is a decision on what the Government intends to do to address the tension between s106 obligations and the community infrastructure levy (CIL), and how that impacts on the delivery of the affordable housing numbers the Government is looking for. We will now have to wait for the Autumn Budget 2017 for that, for its response to the CIL review.

Margaret Baddeley, Planning Director