The Prime Minister's 'Build, Build, Build' announcements: 11 things you need to know

The Prime Minister's 'Build, Build, Build' announcements yesterday were billed by Number 10 as the "most radical reforms to our planning system since the Second World War". Here are 11 things you need to know about the proposals.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pic: Getty)

1. A "wider range of commercial buildings will be allowed to change to residential use without the need for a planning application". Last year, the government introduced a raft of changes to permitted development (PD) rights in relation to high street uses. Planning has asked the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for more details on the high street PD right changes announced yesterday but it had yet to respond at time of publication.

2, More types of commercial premises will receive "total flexibility to be repurposed" through reform of the Use Classes Order. The statement said that buildings used for retail "would be able to be permanently used as a café or office without requiring a planning application and local authority approval". However, it added that "pubs, libraries, village shops and other types of uses essential to the lifeblood of communities will not be covered by these flexibilities".

3. Builders will no longer need a "normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes". This long-awaited measure was trailed by housing and planning minister Christopher Pincher last week.

4. Property owners "will be able to build additional space above their properties via a fast track approval process, subject to neighbour consultation". Last Thursday, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published regulations introducing a new PD right, effective from 1 August, to allow blocks of flats to be extended upwards by two storeys to create new homes. An explanatory memorandum published alongside the new regulations said the government intended to introduce "further permitted development rights for building upwards, including for new and bigger homes".

5. All the planning changes are due to come into effect "by September", said the Number 10 statement.

6. The government will launch a planning policy paper next month "setting out our plan for comprehensive reform of England's seven-decade old planning system. This will introduce a new approach that works better for our modern economy and society", according to Number 10. Last week, Pincher said that a "bold" and "creative" planning white paper would be published "soon".

7. The statement also reheated a previously announced £12 billion programme to support up to 180,000 new affordable homes for ownership and rent over the next five years. The money had initially been announced in the March Budget.

8. A 1,500-unit pilot of "First Homes" for sale to first-time buyers at a 30 per cent discount would be included in the £12 billion programme. In February, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published proposals for how the First Homes scheme – a 2019 election manifesto commitment to replace the ill-fated Starter Homes initiative – would operate. The consultation closed on 1 May.

9. The Prime Minister's announcement included £450 million in additional funding for the Home Building Fund. The fund was launched in 2016 to help smaller developers access finance for new housing schemes. The extra money is expected to support delivery of around 7,200 new homes, Johnson said.

10. Johnson announced the first allocations from the £400 million Brownfield Land Fund to support the development of about 24,000 homes. The fund was announced in this spring's Budget. The Prime Minister said the allocations would support the development of around 24,000 homes on previously developed sites in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Tyneside, Teesside and the Liverpool and Sheffield city-regions. Planning has asked the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for more details on the allocations but it had yet to respond at the time of publication.

11. The Prime Minister revealed that work will begin on an "ambitious cross-government strategy" looking at how public sector land can be managed and released so it can be put to better use. The strategy will look at options that include homebuilding, improving the environment, contributing to net zero goals and injecting growth opportunities into communities across the country, he said.

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