The Joint Spending Review And Autumn Statement 2015 – How Will It Impact Planning?

With housing firmly established as a political chess piece, its prominence in yesterday's joint Spending Review and Autumn Statement comes as no surprise. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £6.9bn housebuilding programme comprising:

£4bn to build 135,000 shared ownership homes for households earning below £80,000 in the regions or £90,000 in London; £2.3bn to deliver 200,000 starter homes where first time buyers will receive a 20% discount on homes of up to £450,000 in London and £250,000 in the regions; £200m to deliver 10,000 new homes where tenants can live at a reduced rate for 5 years while they save for a deposit; and £400m to build 8,000 specialist homes for the elderly or disabled. Starter Homes featured heavily at the Conservative Party Conference and in the Housing & Planning Bill, while measures to assist renters saving for a deposit formed part of the 2015 Conservative Party Manifesto. The £4bn fund to build 135,000 shared ownership homes and the £400m set aside to build specialist homes for the elderly or disabled are new ideas.

Additional measures include:

The relaxation of the rules around shared ownership to reach a wider audience; The extension of the government's Right to Buy programme to housing association tenants, initially only as a trial involving 5 specific housing associations; A 3% surcharge on stamp duty for second homes and buy to let properties; The extension of Help to Buy to 2021 as opposed to 2020 as previously intended; The extension of Help to Buy in London, with those who have saved a 5% deposit given a loan for up to 40% of the total property value; Further reforms to the planning system, including establishing a new delivery test on local authorities, to ensure delivery against the number of homes set out in Local Plans; Enabling local communities to allocate land for housing through neighbourhood plans, even if that land is not allocated in the Local Plan; Allowing brownfield sites in the Green Belt to be developed in the same way as other brownfield land...

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