Queen Announces Support for Northern Powerhouse and Introduces Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill During Parliament Speech

One of 21 new laws announced in the Queen’s Speech today is the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill, which will assist the government in meeting its goal of building one million homes by 2020.

The Queen stated during her speech at the state opening of Parliament that the bill aims to streamline planning conditions in order to speed up new housing developments and make compulsory planning orders “clearer, fairer and faster”

The National Infrastructure Commission will be given statutory status, and the Land Registry will be privatised. Local communities will also have more say in neighbourhood planning.

Stuart Law, CEO of Assetz for Investors, commented on the bill, saying, “The number of homes being granted planning permission is at its highest since 2007.” A further 475,000 homes in England have been granted planning permission, indicating that the government’s planning reforms are taking effect and Britain is resuming construction.

“Our own Assetz research shows that without a doubt, more councils are granting planning permission on green belt sites or sites that may have previously had difficulty.” We believe this trend will continue, which is a good thing if we don’t want to see house prices continue to rise out of reach of ordinary people and first-time buyers forced out of their neighbourhood.

“We know that when asked for residential planning permission, councils’ default position is now unmistakably “yes.” However, the government must now go a step further and empower elected mayors to drive development forward. The government would be doing the majority of the people a favour if it could finally put an end to Nimbyism, because the greater good is done for the whole – not the few.”

However, Charles Holland, Marsh & Parsons’ head of residential development and investment, believes that “there can’t be a one-rule-fits-all approach to affordable housing in London.”

“With home ownership falling to 63% of the population from nearly 70% a few years ago, it’s critical that the development community is encouraged to build more property in London.”

“Increasing the supply of new homes significantly will allow house prices to remain stable rather than becoming more out of reach for first-time buyers. Reports that Sadiq Khan intends to appoint an Islington councillor as his deputy mayor, who has a history of blocking developments lacking proportionately higher levels of affordable or social housing, are cause for concern in the capital and may be counter-productive in achieving his goal of building lower value homes.

“We welcome the idea of greater affordability for the city’s young professionals – but insisting that all developments in London provide 50% affordable housing will have a significant negative impact on land values, causing landowners to consider alternative uses or withhold the release of land entirely.”

“The new 50% affordable housing requirement will make the majority of new-build projects unviable for land already acquired by developers / housebuilders, stifling the flow of much-needed supply. Simply put, there can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach for such a diverse city, and the mayor and his housing chief must be careful not to stymie house building in London if they want to meet their ambitious target of delivering 50,000 new homes per year.”

“The bill establishing the National Infrastructure Commission (the National Planning and Infrastructure Bill) will be a test of the government’s resolve to plan the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs, and it will be interesting to see the extent to which it retains the final say on the Commission’s work,” said Angus Walker, partner in Bircham Dyson Bell’s planning and infrastructure department.

During her speech at the state opening of Parliament, the Queen also expressed her support for the government’s plan to build a Northern Powerhouse and announced a Modern Transport Bill that includes incentives for investment in driverless cars, electric cars, commercial space planes, and drones.

In addition, key government priorities were announced, including the implementation of a drinks sugar tax in April 2018, a seven-day NHS, and a pledge to combat poverty and the causes of deprivation. New laws to encourage adoption, as well as a restructuring of the prison system, were also announced.

Last Updated on December 28, 2021


Author: Indra Gupta

Indra is an in-house writer with a love of Newcastle United and all things sustainable.

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