He also said this new approach, first mooted in the government’s housing white paper, will save councils millions of pounds every year and help deliver more affordable homes.
It will help give a realistic picture of how many homes each local area needs now and in the future, with more homes built in areas where it is unaffordable, based on average earnings in each area.
This is a public consultation that will run for eight weeks until 9 November 2017.
Councils across England spend an estimated £3 million in taxpayers’ money every year on employing expensive consultants to work out how many new homes are needed in their area. Long legal disputes over these figures when preparing local plans can also lead to unnecessary delays and add to the costs.
Sajid Javid said: “As anyone who has tried to buy or rent a home recently would probably tell you, the housing market in this country is broken. The simple truth is that for far too long we haven’t built enough homes and we don’t build them quickly enough.
“It’s time to fix that. This new approach will cut the unnecessarily complex and lengthy debates that can delay house building. It will make sure we have a clear and realistic assessment of how many new homes are needed, and ensure local communities have a voice in deciding where they go.”
This government has pledged in its 2015 commitment to deliver one million homes by the end of 2020, and a further half a million more by the end of 2022.
Housebuilding in England is now at the highest level since 2008 with nearly 190,000 homes delivered, and 304,000 houses given planning permission in the last year.
The proposed system does not set targets, but it is a starting point to ensure that it will be quicker for each local area to produce a realistic plan of its housing need and review it at least every five years.
In areas that struggle to meet their needs locally – for example due to strong protections for areas like the green belt – they will need to work with neighbouring councils to plan across a wider area.
The government has introduced a range of planning reforms since 2010 to help councils and communities shape their local area, including abolishing the unpopular, ineffective regional strategies and giving more power to local and neighbourhood plans.
More than 400 neighbourhood plans across the country have been developed , however, the latest data shows that over 40% of councils currently do not have a plan that meets the projected growth in local households in their area.
Neighbouring councils working together
The planned reforms will also mean that councils will have to agree how they will work with their neighbouring areas to plan for homes and supporting infrastructure such as roads and utility services.
A new “statement of common ground” will see better cooperation across council boundaries on planning issues to plan for homes including in new towns or garden villages.
Although there is already a duty on councils to plan together on infrastructure and public services, including housing, evidence suggests that in some parts of the country this is not working effectively.
Neighbouring councils will be expected to set out the cross boundary matters within an agreed area, looking at the housing need for the area, distribution of homes and plans to meet any shortfalls.
If effective cooperation does not take place, government will be prepared to take action to ensure communities and neighbouring councils are not at a disadvantage and make sure the homes their area needs are planned for.
Following changes to the National Planning Policy Framework expected in 2018, councils will then have up to a year to get a statement of common ground in place.
Article originally provided by Mortgage Finance Gazette