The government will meet its manifesto commitment to build 1 million homes over this Parliament, the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has announced today.
Reaching this target would represent another important milestone in the government’s already successful housebuilding strategy. Since 2010, over 2.2 million new homes have been delivered and millions of people have moved into home ownership.
The pledge comes ahead of a major speech by the Housing and Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove, today [Monday 24 July] in which he will set out new measures to unblock the planning system and build more homes in the right places where there is local consent.
Rather than concreting over the countryside, the government will focus on prioritising building in inner-city areas where demand is highest and growth is being constrained. This includes a new urban quarter in Cambridge which will unlock the city’s full potential as a source of innovation and talent. Working with local leaders and communities in Cambridge, a new quarter will create new beautiful homes, supported by state of the art facilities with cutting-edge laboratories and green spaces.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
Today I can confirm that we will meet our manifesto commitment to build 1 million homes over this Parliament. That’s a beautiful new home for a million individual families in every corner of our country.
We need to keep going because we want more people to realise the dream of owning their own home.
We won’t do that by concreting over the countryside – our plan is to build the right homes where there is the most need and where there is local support, in the heart of Britain’s great cities.
Our reforms today will help make that a reality, by regenerating disused brownfield land, streamlining planning process and helping homeowners to renovate and extend their houses outwards and upwards.
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove said:
Most people agree that we need to build more homes – the question is how we go about it.
Rather than concreting over the countryside, we have set out a plan today to build the right homes in the right places where there is community support – and we’re putting the resources behind it to help make this vision a reality.
At the heart of this is making sure that we build beautiful and empower communities to have a say in the development in their area.
The Government will also take steps to unblock the bottlenecks in the planning system that are choking and slowing down development, and stopping growth and investment by:
Immediately launching a £24 million Planning Skills Delivery Fund to clear backlogs and get the right skills in place.
Setting up a new “super-squad” team of leading planners and other experts charged with working across the planning system to unblock major housing developments. The team will first be deployed in Cambridge to turbocharge our plans in the city.
Developers will also be asked to contribute more through fees, to help support a higher quality more efficient planning service.
New flexibilities to convert shops, takeaways and betting shops into homes will help to rejuvenate the high street. Meanwhile, red tape will be cut to enable barn conversions and the repurposing agricultural buildings and disused warehouses.
New freedoms to extend homes, convert lofts and renovate new buildings will help to convert existing properties into new accommodation. A review into the extension of permitted development rights will make it easier for homeowners to build upwards and outwards – with new extensions and loft conversions - whilst ensuring neighbours’ interests are protected.
Community support is vital in making these plans a success and the Housing Secretary has been clear any developments must be beautiful, come with the right infrastructure and designed with locals in mind. That is why the Housing Secretary is also today announcing:
- Office for Place – a new body will be launched today to lead a design revolution and ensure local people have a say in how housing is designed.
- A consultation on reforming local plans, to make them simpler, shorter and more visual, showing clearly what is planned in local areas so communities can engage.
Sir Mene Pangalos, AstraZeneca: “This announcement offers the potential to help Cambridge continue to develop as a leading global centre for life sciences and healthcare, enhance its infrastructure, and deliver further growth locally and nationally.”
Caspar Herzberg CEO, AVEVA: “We welcome this investment in Cambridge’s future as a global science and technology hub. From AVEVA’s origins as a research joint-venture between the government and University of Cambridge, the city remains a major R&D centre for our global software business. We’re committed to continuing to invest in Cambridge as an innovation centre for the development of the next generation of industrial software, using AI to drive productivity and decarbonisation for our customers around the world.”
Steve Bates CEO, U.K. bioindustry Assocation: “The U.K. life science sector needs speedy decisions on new labs and homes to grow. Today’s announcement about Cambridge is a welcome boost to scaling companies like Alcamab and Bicycle, competing for global investment.”
Mark Reynolds, Chief Executive, Mace: “One of our biggest challenge as an industry is a lack of clarity over the future pipeline of construction work across the UK. This welcome funding for more planning experts will help to decrease waiting times for planning decisions – a major cause of uncertainty and delay in delivery across the construction sector – and a review of permitted development rights could help to unlock UK-wide growth through the opportunity for more work across the country for the repair, maintenance and improvement sector.”
Ryan Shorthouse CEO, Bright Blue: “To give younger people from modest backgrounds a better chance of home ownership, we urgently need to build more homes in desirable parts of the country. The welcome measures announced today will help quicken and simplify the planning process, and are thus strong steps towards achieving greater and greener homes. But these policies are only the start of the major demand-side and supply-side reforms that are needed to the housing market to ensure more young people can enjoy the benefits of property ownership.”
Dean Finch CEO, Persimmon: “Persimmon welcomes the proposals announced today to deliver much needed reform of the planning system with the aim of accelerating the development of new homes that will help hard-pressed people achieve their dream of affordable home ownership.”
Jack Pringle, Chair of the RIBA Board: “We pleased to see today’s announcements which will enable the vital action needed to tackle the housing crisis. Measures to increase planning resource are welcome and critical to build the homes that we need. New homes do need to be delivered at pace, and we should aim to deliver quality as well as quantity. We remain committed to working with our partners in government to deliver well-designed, accessible and sustainable homes in the places that need them most.”
Ike Ijeh Head of Housing, Architecture and Urban Space, Policy Exchange: “Policy Exchange is delighted to see key recommendations of its recently published Placemaking Matrix incorporated into the Government’s new plans. Both the report and our groundbreaking ‘Building More, Building Beautiful’ paper co-authored by the late Sir Roger Scruton were invested in the founding principle that improving the quality and quantity of UK housing is simply not possible without an aggressive focus on urban quality and democratic consent. It is therefore encouraging to see these ideas take centre stage in the Government’s new proposals.”
Victoria Hills, Chief Executive, Royal Town Planning Institute: “I believe this investment into the planning system will make a significant contribution to alleviating the pressure placed on England’s planning services. Well-resourced Local Planning Authorities have the power to make a unique contribution to their areas, helping to deliver the affordable homes, public services, and critical infrastructure individuals, families and communities need.”
Andrew Davies, CEO, Kier Group: “Construction and Infrastructure have a key role to play in supporting economic growth. As such, any steps taken to speed up planning consents and invest in the improvement and regeneration of communities are welcome.”
Richard Harpin, founder and Chairman, Homeserve: “I welcome this investment from the Government to build more homes in a sensible way to help grow the economy. It is good to see Government listening to business and backing areas such as Cambridge.”
Poppy Gustafsson, CEO, Darktrace: “Cambridge is a fantastic place not just to start, but also to scale a technology business. We have benefitted greatly from being so close to the talented technology innovators of the future, bringing them into our rapidly growing business where they’re developing extraordinary AI solutions that are keeping organisations around the world safe from cyber disruption. We welcome any steps taken to strengthen the Cambridge innovation ecosystem as we’d love to see a thriving UK technology sector and the next wave of Darktraces on these shores.”