Latest news

Planning minister ponders policy shifts

Published: Thursday, 22nd September 2016

In his first major speech as planning and housing minister Gavin Barwell suggests there will be a shift in government policy away from a singular focus on home ownership…

The specialist and trade press have highlighted that the new planning and housing minister Gavin Barwell used his first major speech last week to shift government policy away from a focus on home ownership.

He also suggested that developers that fail to build on sites for which they have planning permission could find themselves penalised when they apply for their next scheme.

The minister told Property Week he wanted to crack down on developers that have a “habit of putting in planning applications, getting permission, getting uplift in their land value and then not doing anything”.

According to reports he also told delegates at the British Property Federation’s RESI conference last week that “We need to build more homes of every single type and not focus on one single tenure.”

He also indicated that the government is considering abandoning its pledge to build 200,000 starter homes by 2020 due to a shift towards supporting the rental sector.

Barwell was quoted as saying: “There’s a little bit of a tension between the overall supply objective and measures specifically to help people on to the housing ladder”. He indicated that affordable rental homes may now be included in that target figure for starter homes.

The minister also revealed the administration was considering directly commissioning housing projects that use off-site construction through a £3bn fund in an attempt to promote innovation in the industry.

Read the news story from Property Week.

Roger Milne