Home  >  News & Insight  >  ‘Antiquated’ planning system to be reformed and mandatory housing targets are back

‘Antiquated’ planning system to be reformed and mandatory housing targets are back

Within days of being in government, Labour has reintroduced mandatory housing targets and announced plans to reform the planning system.

Today, new Chancellor Rachel Reeves confirmed that the new Labour government will reinstate mandatory housing targets to achieve the goal of 1.5 million new homes in England over the next five years.

The Conservatives brought in mandatory housing targets in 2019, which were abandoned when Rishi Sunak became prime minister in 2022.

The same government estimated one million new homes had been built in the last five years (this was a pledge in their 2019 manifesto), but it failed to meet another pledge of building 300,000 new homes a year.

The scrapping of the mandatory targets has often come under attack with critics saying it was difficult to see how 300,000 homes per year could be achieved without mandatory targets.


Plans to reform “antiquated” planning system

The Chancellor also said there is an urgent need to reform the planning system.

She said that the government will be writing to councils whose local plans will need to prioritise brownfield and “grey belt” land for development and that it will support local authorities with 300 additional planning officers across the country.


Our thoughts 

Whilst it’s encouraging that the Labour government appears keen to act quickly on key issues facing the sector and has voiced a commitment to increased homebuilding and planning reforms, there doesn’t seem to be a firm plan for how it will be achieved.

On the face of it, rather than trying to understand the actual requirement for new housing, Labour have just picked up the historic target of 300,000 homes per year without any clear reasoning.

Also, the commitment to recruit an additional 300 planning officers isn’t as simple as it sounds – the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) recently reported a nationwide shortage of planning enforcement officers and 70% of councils have reported difficulties in recruiting enforcement officers over the past five years!


Get in touch

If you have any queries about anything in this article, please get in touch with our expert team right here, who will be able to assist.


mandatory housing targets

The information was correct at time of publishing but may now be out of date.

Posted by Stuart Stead
8th July, 2024
Get in touch with Stuart Stead