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Article by Sarah Hamilton-Walker | 1st April 2018

Tackling the Housing Crisis

PM and Housing Secretary act to ensure more new homes are built.

Councils in England could be stripped of planning powers if not enough homes are being built in their areas to help tackle the housing crisis, Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has warned. His comments came in the same week that Prime Minister Teresa May, in announcing reforms to planning rules in England, said that young people without family wealth are “right to be angry” at not being able to buy a home.

She said home ownership was largely unaffordable to those not backed by “the bank of mum and dad”, adding that this disparity was entrenching social inequality and “exacerbating divisions between generations”.

The PM’s comments came during a speech to the National Planning Conference when she said the existing National Planning Policy Framework will be overhauled, pending a consultation, with up to 80 proposals first put forward last year being implemented. Key measures include:

• 10% of homes on major sites should be available for affordable home ownership.
• Councils to consider revoking planning permission after two years if building has not started.
• Ancient woodlands and aged trees to get specific protection.
• Councils will have to adopt a new nationwide standard showing housing need in their areas.

Local councils have been targeted by Sajid Javid, Housing Secretary, who has said that those which fail to meet targets will be stripped of the right to decide what is built within their boundaries, with inspectors making decisions instead.
The new Planning Policy Framework will contain new rules to determine how many homes councils must build – taking into account local house prices, wages and key worker numbers.
Mr Javid said he would be “breathing down” the necks of local authorities to ensure building targets, set by the government, are met, adding: “If you are in an area where the unaffordability ratio is much higher you will have to build even more. It will make clear to councils that this number is minimum, not a maximum.”

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