This week the prime minister Boris Johnson has unveiled his new plans for affordable housing in the UK. The plan has been put in place to help the country bounce back from the coronavirus period we have been going through. But what exactly does the plan entail and is it good news for people looking to get on the property ladder?
The Boris Johnson Affordable Housing plan
The main thrust of the plan is that they want to make more affordable homes in places where people actually want to live. What this means in practice is a loosening of restrictions in city centres as regards change of use and redevelopment of existing buildings.There will be less need for planning permission for changing the use of property to residential. For example, this could be pubs or retail spaces that have been closed and empty in city centres, or old industrial buildings that require re-purposing.
New regulations aim to give greater freedom for buildings and land in town centres to change use without planning permission. It is hoped that this will create new homes from the regeneration of empty buildings.Existing commercial properties, including unused shops, can be converted into residential housing more easily than in previous years. Normal planning applications will no longer be required to demolish and rebuild redundant commercial buildings, as long as they are rebuilt as domestic properties.
People who own existing property will also be able to build additional space above their properties using a speedier approval process, although there will be a period of consultation.These changes are planned to come into effect by September. The aim is that they will both support the high street revival and reduce the pressure to build on green field land by making brownfield development easier.
Johnson also confirmed a £12 billion affordable homes programme. This is aimed at supporting up to 180,000 new affordable homes for ownership and rent, to be built and developed over the next eight years.In addition, smaller house builders will be given an extra £450 million in funding to help create new housing developments in places where people want to live. This is expected to support delivery of more than 7,000 new homes.
Additionally, funds from the £400m Brownfield Land Fund were allocated to the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Liverpool City Region, Sheffield City Region, and North of Tyne and Tees Valley. These funds will support around 24,000 new homes.
Johnson said the measures would include “the most radical reforms to our planning system since the Second World War.”