It is encouraging that more Government effort – national and local – is being directed towards increasing housing supply. However, a lot more still needs to be done.Nick Barnes, Head of Research
–– The Government plans to establish a London Land Commission to help ensure that the capital’s surplus brownfield sites are developed to help meet the target of over 400,000 new homes by 2025.
–– London Mayor Boris Johnson has named London’s first Housing Zones. Situated in nine boroughs (Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Ealing, Royal Borough of Greenwich, Haringey, Harrow, Hounslow, Lewisham and Wandsworth), the new zones will unlock the redevelopment of 1,897.4 hectares of brownfield land and deliver 28,000 new homes. More zones are being considered with around 20 expected to be designated by later his year to provide over 50,000 new homes. The Housing Zone status will remain until 2025.
–– The Government has said that a requirement for councils to share a draft of any proposed planning conditions with the applicant before a planning decision is made will ‘not be taken forward immediately’ after concerns were raised in a consultation that it could ‘slow down decision making’.
–– To speed up Section 106 notices the Government proposes to amend planning guidance by confirming that:
–– notices should be dealt with within statutory timescales
–– there should be early engagement about the scope of agreements at the pre-application stage by all parties
–– there needs to be greater use of standardised clauses and setting expectations for greater transparency about the raising and spending of funds.
The Government is also consulting on whether legislative changes to Section 106 will be required to streamline the process during the next parliament.
–– The Competition and Markets Authority has made a number of recommendations aimed at improving the residential property management services sector in England and Wales, regarding:
–– prospective purchasers’ awareness of leaseholders’ obligations
–– disclosure, transparency and communication between property managers and leaseholders
–– leaseholders’ access to redress
–– changes to legislation affecting rights of consultation relating to major works
–– supplementing the existing Right to Manage legislation to enable leaseholders, where there is a majority in favour, to require the landlord to re-tender the property management of their block.