The New Housing and Planning Bill: Blue Sky Thinking to Benefit the UK Property Market

Posted on Tuesday, November 10, 2015

As the new Housing and Planning Bill works its way through the Commons, the second reading this week has created some interesting debate about what this means for the future of the property market in England.

The current situation facing most of the UK is stark. Home ownership has fallen every year since 2010 and is now at the lowest rate in a generation. Private rents and property prices have soared and potential first time buyers are struggling to find their way onto the first rung of the property ladder.

The Bill aims to get 1 million homes built by 2020 by:

  • reforming the planning system, including a new duty for councils to keep a register of brownfield land,
  • automatic planning permission, in principle, on allocated brownfield sites,
  • attractive discounts for first time buyers,
  • extending the right-to-buy to housing association tenants,
  • and a new legal duty on councils to guarantee the delivery of Starter Homes on all reasonably sized new development sites and to promote schemes to first time buyers in their area.

Jamie Flatman, Managing Director of our Reading office, shares the belief that this is the beginning of a very different property market in the UK.

‘‘This is Blue Sky thinking from the Chancellor. The new Housing Bill gives hope to First Time Buyers hitherto priced out of the market; and at the same time takes the pressure off Bank of Mum and Dad in terms of the quantum of deposit needed”

“This will then have a roll on effect for the industry and national as a whole, creating further wealth for those buyers after five years when they look to trade up to a bigger property. In the rental sector the Bill also seeks to exclude rogue Landlords from trading and improve the quality of rental property stock.”

The response from others in the Housing and Planning industry echoes our thoughts.

Trudi Elliott, chief executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), welcomed “the priority being given to housing by the government, given the backlog of need built up over 30 years… the key priority now must be to get more homes actually built."

Jeremy Blackburn, head of policy at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, saidBritain’s brownfields sites have been locked for far too long, and we are pleased to see that measures are being put in place to release their potential and get our country building.”

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, put forward this statement "The housing challenge facing the UK is acute, and government is being fairly punchy in the reforms it wants to make to the planning system to deliver new homes... We are pleased to see the extension of office to residential permitted development rights taken forward in a sensible manner.”

These are exciting times for the property market, and we look forward to following the passage of the Bill through Parliament with interest. If you have any thoughts or reactions to the new Housing and Planning Bill, we’d love the hear them.