Planning for the future
The government published its Planning White Paper on 6 August which is a consultation on proposals to reform the planning system in England.
Paul Williams, Director at Mosaic Town Planning looked at the headline grabbing Planning White Paper and the ways in which the government are looking to support SME Builders.
Here are Paul’s thoughts:
The headline-grabbing Planning White Paper is accompanied by a series of shorter-term measures to improve the effectiveness of the existing system. One aim of these is to support small and medium-sized (SME) housebuilders, who are seen as important because they develop the majority of small sites and most apartments.
Small sites are regarded as important to overall housing supply as they are typically built out more quickly, and because they provide additional choice in the type and design of housing
However, the SMEs who develop then have still not recovered from the last recession, and have now been hit by Covid-19 at a time when they already vulnerable.
Measures which have been taken to date include the Home Building Fund, Help to Buy programme and the ENABLE Build guarantee scheme. New legislation giving local authorities the flexibility to defer Community Infrastructure Levy payments will enable them to support developers who are struggling with cash flow.
An additional measure now targeted specifically at SMEs is to raise the threshold at which affordable housing contributions will be required. This would be for a time-limited period until the economy recovers. The consultation proposal is to increase this from the current 10 dwellings, to either 40 or 50 units for a period of 18 months. The site size threshold would also increase form the present 0.5 hectare.
In addition, the government is seeking ideas for other ways in which it can support SME builders, with consultation closing on 1st October. The final proposals are due to be introduced by a Written Ministerial Statement in the autumn.
The information was correct at time of publishing but may now be out of date.