The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has announced his government will meet its manifesto commitment to build 1 million homes over this Parliament.
According to the government, “Since 2010, over 2.2 million new homes have been delivered and millions of people have moved into home ownership.”
To meet this target, the government announced moves to clear planning backlogs with a £24m Planning Skills Delivery Fund and set up a “super-squad team of leading planners and other experts working across the planning system to unblock major housing developments.” Cambridge will be the first to see the deployment of the “super-squad.”
“Rather than concreting over the countryside, the government will focus on prioritising building in inner-city areas where demand is highest and growth is being constrained. This includes a new urban quarter in Cambridge which will unlock the city’s full potential as a source of innovation and talent. Working with local leaders and communities in Cambridge, a new quarter will create new beautiful homes, supported by state of the art facilities with cutting-edge laboratories and green spaces.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“Today I can confirm that we will meet our manifesto commitment to build 1 million homes over this Parliament. That’s a beautiful new home for a million individual families in every corner of our country.
“We need to keep going because we want more people to realise the dream of owning their own home.
“We won’t do that by concreting over the countryside – our plan is to build the right homes where there is the most need and where there is local support, in the heart of Britain’s great cities.
“Our reforms today will help make that a reality, by regenerating disused brownfield land, streamlining the planning process and helping homeowners to renovate and extend their houses outwards and upwards.”
The reforms would see new flexibilities to convert shops, takeaways and betting shops into homes to rejuvenate the high street. Red tape will be cut to enable barn conversions and the repurposing of agricultural buildings and disused warehouses.
In addition, “new freedoms to extend homes, convert lofts and renovate new buildings will help to convert existing properties into new accommodation. A review into the extension of permitted development rights will make it easier for homeowners to build upwards and outwards – with new extensions and loft conversions – whilst ensuring neighbours’ interests are protected.”
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove delivered a speech this morning outlining the reforms. He says he will relax planning rules in England in an effort to create more homes in “the hearts of our cities” with a long-term plan of 10 principles.
However, Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, told the Today programme that she was not impressed by what the government briefed overnight about its plans to boost urban housebuilding and called for something “much bigger.”
In a reaction to the plan for Cambridge’s urban quarter, Conservative MP Anthony Browne tweeted his opposition to more housebuilding in the city based on the lack of water infrastructure:
The government press release announcing the 1 million homes pledge is available here.
The government has also released further details about it’s long-term plan for housing.