Government plans for housebuilding set to regenerate and boost cities
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced the government’s plans for housebuilding across England. This will regenerate numerous cities, especially those in the north and Midlands. The government's plans will encourage more housebuilding in the 20 largest cities and urban centres in England. The plans will regenerate these cities and bring housing to areas where demand is outstripping supply. The plans set out for delivering more homes across England are also expected to boost local economies through supporting jobs in the construction sector and revitalising high streets with footfall from new residents.
This will especially help areas struggling to recover from COVID-19. Delivering 300,000 homes a year A consultation was held in the summer seeking views from councils, planners and the wider public about the plans. Under the proposals, the method of calculating housing need will be changed. This will help councils enable the delivery of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s. Prioritising brownfield sites and urban areas will be key. Additionally, the government wants cities to “plan for more family homes”.
It will also be important to “make the most of vacant buildings and underused land to protect green spaces”. Robert Jenrick said: “This government wants to build more homes as a matter of social justice, for intergenerational fairness and to create jobs for working people. We are reforming our planning system to ensure it is simpler and more certain without compromising standards of design, quality and environmental protection." Investment in the north and Midlands The government is also planning to revise its ‘80/20 rule’.
This has been a guide for how much funding is available to local areas to help build homes. A new principle will be established to ensure funding is not just concentrated in London and the south. Additionally, more than £67m has been allocated to the West Midlands and Greater Manchester Mayoral Combined Authorities. This will help deliver new homes on brownfield land in these areas, which are continuing to see housing demand increase. The government's Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine initiatives are continuing to attract more development and investment in these areas away from the capital.
This new funding will further boost cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham. These cities have become even more liveable and investable in recent years. Housebuilding is a top priority The delivery of homes in 2019 reached numbers not seen since 1987. It was also the seventh year in a row that the number of homes delivered had increased. Developing new-builds is a significant part of this increase in housing. “Build, build, build” is a big piece of the government’s strategy for the UK's recovery after COVID-19.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to “level up” the country. And the government is continuing to support housebuilding throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as it will likely play an important role in England’s economic recovery. In the most recent Spending Review, the government even announced £20bn of investing in housing, including £7.1bn for the National Home Building Fund. This will further support the UK's housebuilding sector, in addition to helping spur economic activity and rectify the housing shortage.
Robert Jenrick comments: “The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated and magnified patterns that already existed, creating a generational opportunity for the repurposing of offices and retail as housing and for urban renewal. “We want this to be an opportunity for a new trajectory for our major cities – one which helps to forge a new country beyond Covid - which is more beautiful, healthier, more prosperous, more neighbourly and where more people have the security and dignity of a home of their own.