Gove relaxes planning rules to boost inner-city housing

Credit: AdobeStock/Lichtwolke99
Credit: AdobeStock/Lichtwolke99

Housing and Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove has announced plans to ‘unblock’ the planning system and build more homes in inner-city areas where demand is highest and growth is being constrained.

The announcement comes as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announces that the government will meet its manifesto commitment to build 1 million homes over this Parliament.

Gove’s plans include a new urban quarter in Cambridge which the government says will unlock the city’s full potential as a source of innovation and talent.

The steps the government will take to unblock the bottlenecks in the planning system are:

  • Immediately launching a £24 million Planning Skills Delivery Fund to clear backlogs and get the right skills in place.
  • Setting up a new “super-squad” team of leading planners and other experts charged with working across the planning system to unblock major housing developments. The team will first be deployed in Cambridge to turbocharge our plans in the city.

Developers will also be asked to contribute more through fees, to help support a higher quality more efficient planning service.

Meanwhile, red tape will be cut to enable barn conversions and the repurposing agricultural buildings and disused warehouses.

New freedoms to extend homes, convert lofts and renovate new buildings will help to convert existing properties into new accommodation.

Furthermore, a review into the extension of permitted development rights will make it easier for homeowners to build upwards and outwards – with new extensions and loft conversions – whilst ensuring neighbours’ interests are protected.

Commenting on the changes, Gove said: “Most people agree that we need to build more homes – the question is how we go about it.

“Rather than concreting over the countryside, we have set out a plan today to build the right homes in the right places where there is community support – and we’re putting the resources behind it to help make this vision a reality.

“At the heart of this is making sure that we build beautiful and empower communities to have a say in the development in their area.”

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