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Fair play in housing - consultation

Fair play in housing consultation

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Government's proposal to build more houses

The government is proposing a radical shake-up of the planning system in England, believing the country should build, build, build in order to stimulate the economy following the effects of the pandemic.

The government committed to building 300,000 new homes a year across England by the mid-2020s. After falling significantly short of this over recent years, a new formula was proposed to calculate housing numbers across England to make up this shortfall.

The proposals would have seen over 1600 new homes a year imposed on Wokingham Borough. This would have been more than double the current figure.

Our response

Since 2006, nearly 10,000 new homes have been built in Wokingham Borough, an average of 700 new homes each year. We believe we are more than doing our bit to provide the homes people need.

We formally objected to the proposal and you can take a look at our response to changes to the current planning system consultation (PDF document.) 

You can also take a look at our response to the 'White Paper - Planning for the future' consultation (PDF document.)      

The government consulted on 2 documents which sought to make changes to the planning system. Both consultations ran between August and October 2020. 

Changes to the current planning system consultation

This consultation ran for 8 weeks until 1 October 2020.

The document focused on the following key areas of change within the planning system:

  • Proposed changes to the standard method to calculate each authority’s housing need
  • Securing of First Homes – homes sold at a discount market price for first time buyers, including key workers
  • Temporarily changing the threshold of housing proposals where developers must contribute to affordable housing, from 10 or more, to 40 or 50 homes. The idea behind this is to support small and medium house-builders
  • Extending the current Permission in Principle to major development (schemes of 10 or more homes) so that landowners and developers have a faster route to planning permission for the principle of housing before the detailed plans are worked up

These changes were proposed so that the planning system can more effectively enable homes to be built, which the government sees as vitally important to driving the economy and tackling the ‘housing crisis’. 

The government committed itself to ensuring a housing market that would build 300,000 new homes a year across England by the mid-2020s. After falling significantly short of this over recent years, the government proposed changes to the method used to calculate housing need so that authorities would have been required to plan for more homes. Subsequently, the proposals from this document around changes to housing need have not been taken forward as suggested through the consultation. Therefore, government does not currently plan to significantly increase the number of homes that will need to be delivered in the borough, rather increased growth will focus on urban areas around the country.

Take a look at the government consultation document and government's response to the consultation below:

Planning for the future consultation

The second consultation is referred to as a White Paper. This consultation ran for 12 weeks until 29 October 2020. 

This is a much longer term set of proposals for completely reforming the planning system. There have been numerous tweaks and alterations to the planning system in this country since it was introduced in 1947, but the proposals in the White Paper are seeking to fundamentally shake up the system as we know it. 

These changes are being proposed because it is the government’s view that the current planning system is delivering nowhere near enough homes in the right places at prices people can afford. The aim of the proposed reforms are therefore to make the planning system simpler, clearer and quicker to navigate. 

The paper contains a wide range of ideas, including:

  • Moving to a zoning type system – where all land will be categorised based on future development potential, including areas to be protected
  • Automatic permission for certain types of development that accord with the local plan and more streamlined permission for others
  • Greater resident involvement earlier in the process when plans are being made rather than at the planning application stage 
  • Greater emphasis on beautiful design with agreed design codes supporting the local plan
  • Nationally set binding housing requirements
  • Nationally set planning policies – which would no longer be devised by each local authority in their plan
  • Simpler system of developer contributions

Government are in the process of analysing feedback to this consultation. Take a look at the government consultation document and its full range of proposals below:

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