Budget 2017: 13 things you need to know

Thirteen things you need to know about the key planning-related announcements contained in this week's Autumn Budget, including plans to require town halls to grant permissions for first-time buyer-led developments on sites outside development plans and proposals for new town development corporations to kick-start work on five garden towns.

Chancellor Philip Hammond
Chancellor Philip Hammond

1. Chancellor sets 300,000 net additional homes target
The Budget’s "ambitious plan" to tackle the housing challenge will help deliver 300,000 net additional homes a year on average by the mid-2020s, the chancellor Philip Hammond said. "We may generate planning permissions, but we will not turn them into homes," the chancellor told MPs. "Solving this challenge will require money, planning reform and intervention."

2. Government plans to deallocate sites with no prospect of delivery
The government is to consult on a proposal to take allocated sites out of local plans where 'there is no prospect' of a planning application being made for their intended use, the Budget reveals. MORE.

3. Policy change mooted to bring forward ‘first-time buyer-led developments’
Consultation is promised on a new policy whereby local authorities would be expected to grant housing permissions for land outside development plans on condition that a "high proportion" of the homes built are offered for discounted sale for first time buyers or for affordable rent. Budget documents say that this policy will not apply to green belt areas, in line with the government’s restated overall commitment to "maintain existing protections" for green belt land. MORE.

4. Minimum densities floated in density drive
Measures under consideration to increase housing density in urban areas include minimum densities for housing development in city centres and around transport hubs, with greater support for the use of compulsory purchase powers to assemble sites, the Budget says. It also says that policy changes to support the conversion of empty space above high street shops and to make it easier to convert retail and employment land into housing will be subject to consultation. The Budget document also says that the government will consult on a permitted development right to allow commercial buildings to "demolished and replaced with homes". MORE.

5. New town development corporations to kick-start five garden towns
The Budget document says that the government will "bring together public and private capital to build five new garden towns, using appropriate delivery vehicles such as development corporations, including in areas of high demand such as the South East". MORE.

6. Backing for infrastructure body’s Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford arc proposals
The chancellor backed the recommendations of a report by the National Infrastructure Commission, which last week said that the rates of housebuilding in the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor "will need to double", delivering up to one million new homes by 2050, "if the arc is to achieve its economic potential". "Today we back their vision and commit to building up to 1 million homes by 2050," Hammond told MPs. "Completing the road and rail infrastructure to support them." MORE.

7. Chancellor disappoints those hoping for significant scaling back of CIL
The Budget stops short of endorsing the key recommendation of a government-commissioned review, which proposed replacing the Community Infrastructure Levy with a system that would see all development face a low-level charge, with no - or very few - exemptions, as well as the removal of the need for an examination process. Instead, Budget says that the government will consult on "speeding up the process of setting and revising CIL to make it easier to respond to changes in the market". It also proposes to allow authorities to "set rates which better reflect the uplift in land values between a proposed and existing use". MORE.

8. Letwin to chair review to examine gap between permissions and completions
A review panel, chaired by Tory MP Sir Oliver Letwin, is to be established "to explain the signifIcant gap between housing completions and the amount of land allocated or permissioned, and make recommendations for closing it". The review will provide an interim report in time for Spring Statement 2018 and a full report at Budget 2018, the Budget document said. In his Budget speech, the chancellor said that if the review finds "that vitally needed land is being withheld from the market for commercial, rather than technical, reasons, [he] will intervene to change the incentives to ensure such land is brought forward for development". MORE.

9. HCA to get new planning powers in expanded role
Housing and regeneration quango the Homes and Communities Agency is to get new planning and compulsory purchase powers as part of an expanded role, the chancellor has announced. Hammond confirmed that the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) would be renamed Homes England and would "expand" to help support local authorities and developers to deliver new housing and infrastructure. MORE.

10. Plan to boost the supply of small sites
The Budget says that the government will consult on measures that would require local authorities to bring forward 20 per cent of their housing supply as small sites. "This will speed up the building of new homes and supports the government’s wider ambition to increase competition in the housebuilding market," the Budget document says. In a section setting out measures intended to ensure that permissions are built out faster, the Budget document also says that the government will consult on "strengthening the housing delivery test with tougher consequences where planned homes are not being built" and to speed up the development process "by removing the exemptions from the deemed discharge rules".

11. Hammond doubles housing infrastructure fund
The chancellor has committed to doubling the size of a key housing fund, intended to deliver infrastructure to ease the construction of new homes, to £5 billion. In June, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) launched the Housing Infrastructure Fund, a government capital grant programme of up to £2.3 billion, intended to help deliver up to 100,000 new homes in England. In the Budget, the chancellor pledged a further £2.7 billion to the fund. The measure was a number of funding announcements in the Budget, including a £1.1 billion land assembly fund, and a £630 million fund to accelerate the building of homes on small, stalled sites. MORE.

12. New £220 million clean air fund announced
The Budget says that the government will provide £220 million for a new clean air fund. "This will allow local authorities in England with the most challenging pollution problems to help individuals and businesses adapt as measures to improve air quality are implemented," the Budget document says.

13. Chancellor confirms £1.7 billion city transport fund
The Budget confirms that a £1.7 billion fund to support "intra-city" transport will be launched, targeting projects which drive productivity by improving connectivity, reducing congestion and utilising new mobility services and technology. Half will be allocated via competition for transport projects in cities and the other half will be allocated on a per capita basis to the six combined authorities with elected metro mayors, the chancellor announced.


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