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  6. Government to back larger-scale projects to meet local housing needs

Government to back larger-scale projects to meet local housing needs

The Government has signalled it wants to encourage new, larger scale housing developments which could involve expansions of a few hundred dwellings, urban extensions or new ‘market towns’ with up to 10,000 new homes.

Ministers plan to publish a prospectus shortly inviting councils and communities to identify opportunities for “locally planned large scale development, which will take advantage of streamlined planning processes, giving communities a stronger say and developers greater certainty”.

This initiative was highlighted in the Government’s housing strategy, just published. This promised that viable schemes that were sustainable and had strong local support would be given financial assistance to get the work going, and would be prioritised for future infrastructure spending. The administration has announced there will be a competition to encourage new thinking in this area.

“We are keen to see innovative approaches and a wide range of models and partnerships come forward, responding to local challenges. We will publish a prospectus setting out more detail of our proposed approach – what the Government is looking for from developers and local communities, and what we can offer in return – in 2012,” stated the document

The strategy also made it clear that the administration is keen to promote the use of tools such as Local Development Orders to help to streamline planning and reduce the risks and delay in securing planning approval for new residential development.

The Government has reiterated that it wants to encourage action on stalled development by allowing developers to require local authorities to reconsider those S106 agreements agreed in more prosperous market conditions prior to April 2010.

The Government said it would consult on this proposal shortly. “We will ensure that any resulting appeals are dealt with promptly by the Planning Inspectorate, to give certainty to both developers and local communities. The Government will also encourage a flexible approach to planning obligations, to safeguard against substantial and unexpected change in market conditions.”

Housing Minister Grant Shapps said the Government’s strategy was designed to see the provision of 200,000 new homes a year.

Access ‘Laying the Foundations: A Housing Strategy for England’

 

Roger Milne

24 November 2011