BPF warns that government risks missing starter homes target, as Housing & Planning Bill gains Royal Assent

12 May 2016

Policy area: Planning, Residential

The British Property Federation has commented on the Housing and Planning Bill gaining Royal Assent, and on speculation that there may be more primary legislation aimed at bringing forward new development after the State Opening of Parliament next week. 

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “The Housing and Planning Bill set out to provide details on one of the government’s main manifesto commitments and on that front, it delivered. The development industry has been waiting almost a year to find out how the starter homes initiative will work in practice, and it is good that we now have clarity. 

“The fact that the regulations are still yet to be laid, however, casts into significant doubt whether the government will be able to achieve its promise of 200,000 homes by 2020. The longer the government takes to iron out the details of this policy, the more that target slips into the distance. Spades are not likely to be in the ground until 2017 at the earliest, and time is certainly running out.”

“Speculation is rife that there may be more primary legislation to aimed at bringing forward development on the cards, which means that government has another opportunity to introduce measures that will really boost housing supply. There are a number of planning provisions that we would like to see put in place to support the build to rent sector, including changes to permission in principle, flexibility on space standards and for build to rent developers to be able to use discount market rent as their affordable housing contribution. The starter homes policy is all well and good, but we need to ensure that there is a full range of different development activity if we are to build communities for future generations.

“Most of all, we would like government to show that it truly understands the symbiotic relationship between infrastructure and development. Infrastructure is the closest thing to a silver bullet when it comes to enabling housing supply, and legislating for stronger CPO powers to help the National Infrastructure Commission bring forward its recommendations would be great to see.”