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Government’s Plans to Boost Urban Housing Development Amid Criticism from Developers

The government is facing criticism from developers who claim that it is not doing enough to address the declining levels of house building. In response, Michael Gove, the Secretary for Levelling Up and Housing, is expected to announce plans to boost construction in urban areas while preserving the countryside.

In an upcoming speech, Gove will outline measures designed to “unblock the planning system” and increase development in city centers. The prime minister has also confirmed that the manifesto commitment to build one million new homes over this parliament will be met.

Although the government dropped mandatory housebuilding targets for local authorities last year, government sources maintain that the target of building 300,000 new homes per year by the mid-2020s still stands. However, some doubt has been raised regarding the availability of brownfield land to meet this demand.

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has emphasized the government’s focus on building homes where there is the greatest need and local support, by regenerating disused brownfield sites and streamlining the planning process. However, the Home Builders Federation argues that the government’s plans fail to address the root causes of the housing supply shortage.

In his upcoming speech, Gove is expected to propose several initiatives, including the establishment of government-sponsored development corporations with powers to acquire land through compulsory purchase orders and sell plots to developers. Additionally, he plans to deploy a team of planners and experts to help facilitate major developments in Cambridge. Other proposals involve creating a “Planning Skills Delivery Fund” to improve industry skills and raising fees for developers to enhance planning services. The government will also review “permitted development rights” to make home extensions and renovations more accessible.

The government’s plans have received criticism from local authorities, who argue that property conversions should be subject to formal planning applications to ensure the creation of high-quality residential environments and adequate infrastructure. Meanwhile, industry insiders express doubts about the government’s ability to fulfill its pledge of building one million new homes due to rising costs and the impact of pollution rules enforced by Natural England.

The debate surrounding housing supply and development is ongoing, with various stakeholders raising concerns about planning processes, environmental regulations, and the availability of suitable urban land. Nonetheless, the government’s commitment to addressing the housing shortage remains a priority.



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