Sajid Javid publishes white paper to fix 'broken' housing market

A 'clear policy expectation' that housing sites deliver a minimum of 10% affordable home ownership units, proposals to introduce a standardised approach to assessing housing requirements, and plans to consult on introducing a fee for making a planning appeal are set out in today's Housing White Paper.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid

Javid told MPs that the white paper will "introduce a new way of assessing housing need".

"Many councils work tirelessly to engage their communities on the number, design and mix of new housing in their area," Javid said. 

"But some of them duck the difficult decisions and fail to produce plans that actually meet their housing need. It is important that all authorities play by the same rules."

The Housing White Paper says that the Government will "consult on a new standard methodology for calculating ‘objectively assessed need’, and encourage councils to plan on this basis".

The document also heralds a major shake-up of the Government’s Starter Homes initiative.

It says that the Government has "listened to concerns" that its original plans for a mandatory requirement of 20% Starter Homes on all developments over a certain size will impact on other affordable homes.

"Rather than a mandatory requirement for Starter Homes, we intend to amend the NPPF to introduce a clear policy expectation that housing sites deliver a minimum of 10% affordable home ownership units," the white paper says.

"It will be for local areas to work with developers to agree an appropriate level of delivery of Starter Homes, alongside other affordable home ownership and rented tenures," the document adds.

The white paper also says that the government will consult on introducing a fee for making a planning appeal.

"Unnecessary appeals can be a source of delay and waste taxpayers’ money," the document says. 

The Government is interested in views on whether it is possible to design a fee in such a way that it does not discourage developers from bringing forward legitimate appeals, the white paper adds.

The document also reveals that:

- the first assessment period for the Government’s new "housing delivery test" will be for the financial years 2014/15 to 2016/17. "From November 2017, if delivery of housing falls below 85 per cent of the housing requirement, authorities would in addition be expected to plan for a 20% buffer on their five-year land supply, if they have not already done so," the document says.

  • local authorities will be able to increase fees by 20% from July 2017 if they "commit to invest the additional fee income in their planning department"
  • the Government will respond to a review of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and "make an announcement at Autumn Budget 2017". The review, published today alongside the white paper, recommends that CIL should be replaced with a "hybrid system" of a low level tariff for all developments and section 106 for larger developments.
  • the Government intends to encourage "more active use of compulsory purchase powers to promote development on stalled sites for housing" as part of a raft of measures to ensure that planning permissions are built out.
  • the Government proposes to amend planning policy so that local planning authorities are expected to provide neighbourhood planning groups with a housing requirement figure, "where this is needed to allow progress with neighbourhood planning". The Government will make further funding available to neighbourhood planning groups from 2018/2020, the white paper says.

Housing White Paper: Fixing our broken housing market is available here.

This article was first published by Horticulture Week's sister title Planning on its website www.planningresource, as part of its in-depth coverage of the white paper. 

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