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Housing white paper: Details revealed

The government has outlined plans to intensify housebuilding across the country – including giving local authorities powers to make sure developers make quicker use of planning consent.

As part of its long-awaited housing white paper, the government will make it easier for councils to issue completion notices to developers and shorten the time within which developers are required to start building on sites after planning permission is granted from three years to two.

The plans, which will also require developers to provide more information on the speed of delivery for proposed developments, are set to be unveiled as part of the government’s much-anticipated housing white paper later today.

Other plans include providing more financial support to SME housebuilders, speeding up housebuilding through planning changes and increasing the number of build-to-rent houses being built.

The government said its housing white paper would include the following points:

Speeding up building: The government wants to introduce a new standardised way for local authorities to calculate housing demand. Using this method, local authorities will need to produce a realistic housing plan every five years. According to the government, 40 per cent of local planning authorities do not currently have an up-to-date plan.

Stacking it high: Councils and developers will be required to use land more efficiently by avoiding low-density homes. This will mean an emphasis on building higher in urban areas that are short of land, and in locations next to transport hubs such as train stations.

Diversifying the market: The government will try to boost the number of houses built by SMEs through its £3bn Home Building Fund. The fund will supply loans to SME builders, custom builders and offsite construction firms to hit its target of SMEs building 25,000 new homes at the end of this parliament, and 225,000 in the longer term.

Affordable rent: Government has opened up its Affordable Homes Programme to the rental sector. The five-year programme was initially to provide more than £7bn to build about 225,000 affordable homes. It will now be open to other areas including affordable rented developments.

Build-to-rent: The government will amend planning rules so councils can proactively plan and deliver long-term build-to-rent developments. This will be supported by the government working with developers and local authorities to provide longer-term tenancies for renters.

Empty homes: Local authorities will be given powers and incentives to tackle empty homes. Through the New Homes Bonus, local authorities will be given the same financial reward for bringing an empty home back into service as they do for building a new one.

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