Housing White Paper 2017:  Have your say – Consultation closes 2 May 2017


February 2017


On February 7th 2017 the Government published, as promised in the 2016 Autumn Statement, its White Paper Fixing our broken housing market. The paper`s aims are to set out a comprehensive package of reforms to increase housing supply and stop the fall in housing affordability but although the paper announces a number of proposals it contains little detail on how these will be implemented.


The paper comprises 106 pages which is broken into 4 chapters (Planning for the right homes in the right places, Building homes faster, Diversifying the market and Helping people now) and highlights the need to build 225,000 to 275,000 homes a year to keep up with population growth and to start to address the years of under supply.


The White Paper targets under performing local planning authorities, proposing financial penalties if they do not allocate sufficient land for housing in their local plan (according to the DCLG over 40% of authorities do not have a plan that meets the projected growth in households in their area), and also criticises land banking developers and discusses taking an applicant`s track record of delivering housing into account when determining applications for housing development, looking at reducing the period of 3 years to 2 for implementing a permission and making it easier for planning authorities to serve a completion notice if development on a site has stopped whereby the authority can withdraw the permission for the remainder of the site.


Other proposals include raising planning fees by 20% from July 2017 if these funds are used to grow an authority`s planning department.


Of interest to developers is that the pilot for streamlining the licensing system for great crested newts which has been trialled by Woking Borough Council and Natural England is to be rolled put with the aim of speeding up the delivery of housing and other development.


It is disappointing for buy to let landlords as the paper does not ease or abolish restrictions on mortgage relief or stamp duty rates.


The White Paper also clarifies what is meant by sustainable development for the planning system i.e. it comprises the 3 dimensions being economic, social and environmental combined with the core planning principles and policies contained in the NPPF.


If you need any advice or assistance in reviewing the White Paper, digesting its impact on your business or responding to the consultation please contact Linda Fletcher. The consultation period closes on 2 May 2017.