Developers to provide timetables for build-out rates, says Barwell

Developers could have to provide councils with timetables indicating build-out rates when they are granted planning permission under a new idea being considered by the government, planning minister Gavin Barwell has said.

Housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell
Housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell

Speaking at an event at the Conservative Party conference organised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors yesterday evening, Barwell gave a number of clues on the content of the new housing white paper, which he suggested would be published with the chancellor's Autumn Statement.

Barwell said that if the government makes the necessary planning reforms, it then "has a right to tell developers now that you need to build out more quickly".

The minister said he wants to see "more transparency" from developers, adding: "I want to see councils getting a clear timetables from developers when they give planning permission for what their speed of build-out is going to be, and then seeking to hold people to those commitments."

Barwell said he also intends to focus on boosting housing supply in those authorities where the gap between homes built and levels of household growth is widest. About a third of English local planning authorities "account for the lion’s share" of this shortfall, he said.

"Long-term, I very much I see my job as working intensively with those areas to find out the problem and try and unpick it."

Barwell also said he wants to implement the previous administration’s proposals for a fast-track permission in principle route for sites allocated in development plans and brownfield land registers as a way of injecting more "certainty" into the planning system.

It is also important, he added, "to make the case for development locally" to persuade communities to accept more homes.

Barwell said: "Trying to get a much clearer linkage between decisions by communities to go for growth and build more housing, and a reward for that in terms of improved infrastructure, is really important. I would like to get to the point where a new junction might have a sign up saying: ‘You got this because you agreed to these new homes.’"

Barwell said there is "no silver bullet" for the housing problem and that it requires a "complex range of policy responses" and more homes in every tenure.

He added: "The reality is, we need more of everything - more homes for open market sale, more shared ownership, more private rented sector, more rent below market prices."

Earlier in the evening, communities secretary Sajid Javid, speaking at the Conservative Home and Home Builders Federation reception, reiterated the government’s commitment to boosting housebuilding,

He said: "My number one policy in my department is to be very focused on housing. The truth is we are just not building enough homes in our great country."

The government recognises that it is a particular problem for young people "to get on the housing ladder", whether to own a home or rent, Javid added.

He said: "It falls on all of us to do something about it - whether it’s people like me in central government, or councillors, or people in the community, or businesses, especially housebuilders. Having more housing is critical to this government."

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