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Home / News and Insights / Press / Reaction: May turns up the heat on housebuilding

This article was first published by Construction Manager.

In a speech yesterday on housing and reforms to planning rules, prime minister Theresa May vowed to make it harder for property companies to sit on land and wait for its value to rise.

She also told housing developers to ‘step up and do their bit’ to ensure more homes are built as she outlined changes to the National Planning Policy Framework.

May said property companies now risk losing bids for planning permission if they have a record of failing to build houses on land they already own.

She also warned local councils they will lose their planning powers if they miss housebuilding targets.

The prime minister stressed she ‘cannot bring about the kind of society I want to see, unless we tackle one of the biggest barriers to social mobility we face today [the lack of affordable housing]’.

And she also signalled a new approach to planning permission on green belt land.

She said: ‘I’d rather see an ugly, disused power station demolished and replaced with attractive housing than a wood or open field concreted over – even if the former is in the green belt and the latter is not.’

Mark Challis, partner in our planning and infrastructure team, comments:

‘Although the government says that radical change is needed to achieve delivery targets, these changes, if not modest, are not radical. But despite the pressing need for more housing, housing developments are often unpopular and so there is only so far any government would be prepared to go.
There is more to come, with the government looking further into the possibility of introducing permitted development rights for upward extensions for new homes and generally how best to make more intensive use of existing sites, particularly in urban areas.’

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