The amount of land being brought forward for development is increasing against a government commitment to see 300,000 new homes built each year by the mid 2020s.
Whilst many question the capacity of housebuilders to bring forward this number, other providers are slowly entering the market and finance is starting to become available through Homes England to unlock difficult sites or to pump-prime infrastructure.
The Chancellor’s Spring Statement outlined significant changes to help improve housing delivery. This followed a series of failures to deliver target numbers, highlighted by a report from the National Audit Office that stated:
“The government’s planning system is underperforming and cannot demonstrate that it is meeting housing demand effectively.”
Changes include additional planning guidance to support housing diversification on large sites, planning reforms to allow a greater change of use in existing buildings, and a new permitted development right to allow the upwards extension of existing buildings to create new homes.
Alongside this drive for new homes, attention is also focused on providing affordable housing and ensuring that developments contribute to area-wide infrastructure to improve the facilities for existing communities affected by new homes.
There is strong political support to extract value from developments which will reduce the price received for sites. A report published in September 2018 by MPs on the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee called for wide-ranging reforms to allow local authorities to buy land at a “fairer price” as part of a strategy to solve the housing crisis. Whilst the government has not yet adopted plans to capture increases in land value from development, a greater share of the rise in value is likely to flow into infrastructure in the future.
The impact of politics and taxation in development are both important so careful thought is required to ensure development prospects are carefully considered.
Now is a good time to engage with your Local Plan and consider options for development across your land.