Bob Pritchard 02 December 2015

Home delivery – The Spending Review and housing

A significant element of the Spending Review is dedicated to measures to promote housing growth – and in particular to boost the supply of low-cost houses to buy.

The headline figures are ambitious, the aim being to deliver 400,000 affordable housing starts by 2020-21. In a five point plan the Review sets out a range of fiscal incentives together with measures aimed at identifying additional land for housing and ensuring that local authorities fully engage with the process.

Land supply measures include targeting unused and previously undeveloped commercial, retail, and industrial land for Starter Homes, and (more controversially) supporting the regeneration of previously developed brownfield sites in the green belt by allowing them to be developed for Starter Homes - subject to local consultation.

Measures aimed at incentivising local authorities to deliver include establishing a test to ensure that authorities are realising the housing numbers that are included in their Local Plans.

What happens in the event that authorities play their part and other factors mean that the market fails to deliver on housing completions is not clear - but what is apparent is that authorities will be expected to accelerate the pace of Local Plan production.

The challenge is how they find the resources to do so at a time when - notwithstanding the 2% precept for investment in adult social care - council budgets are still under acute pressure.

There is one new delivery option that is emerging and which also features in the Spending Review, namely the possibility of combined authorities and metro mayors becoming increasingly involved in planning decisions for major new housing allocations.

Recent devolution deals have incorporated planning powers aimed primarily at securing housing delivery. So, for example, the Liverpool Devolution deal includes powers to establish Mayoral Development Corporations, powers to compulsorily purchase land and powers to call in planning applications (albeit with the consent of the relevant member of the combined authority).

The intervention of metro mayors in the planning system to unlock development that has stalled either because of political reticence at a local level, or a lack of capacity at the local planning authority, may prove an attractive option.

However, it is important that any mayoral planning decisions are limited in scope to matters of genuine strategic importance; are taken in an open and transparent way, and in a manner that reflects the highest standards of probity.

Good governance is essential when it comes to public confidence in the planning system and should never be sacrificed for the cause of addressing the housing crisis.

Bob Pritchard is local government expert at Eversheds LLP

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Interim Head of Fostering

Tile Hill
Negotiable day rate
We are working with a local authority client in London who is looking for an Interim Head of Fostering, the local authority was last inspected as “... London (Central), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tile Hill

Interim Head of Children in Care and Care Leavers

Tile Hill
Negotiable day rate
We are working with a local authority client in London who is looking for an Interim Head of Children in Care and Care Leavers, the local authority... London (Central), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tile Hill

Head of Regeneration and Economy

City of York Council
£59,593 - £68,094
York is a wonderful place to live and work and it is quite rightly famous across the globe. York, North Yorkshire / Hybrid
Recuriter: City of York Council

Clinical Lead, North Essex

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Clinical Lead, North EssexPermanent, Full TimeUp to £57,869 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Assistant Director Legal,&Governance/Monitoring Officer

Rochdale BC
£70,340 - £81,589
The Assistant Director role has breadth of responsibility beyond legal services incorporating Constitutional and Democratic Services Rochdale, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Rochdale BC

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.