The government plans to reform brownfield planning permission rules in a bid to boost housebuilding across the UK.
Automatic planning permissions are set to be granted on all “suitable” brownfield sites under a “zonal system” as part of the proposals.
In a 90-page blueprint called ‘Fixing the Foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation’, which will be released today, proposals will include stronger compulsory purchase orders to build on brownfield land, while extra powers will be devolved to the Mayors of London and Manchester.
The government also plans to grant itself the power to penalise local authorities that make fewer than 50% of planning decisions on time.
In London homeowners will no longer need planning permission for upwards extensions up to the height “of the adjoining building”.
Chancellor George Osborne is expected to say today: “Britain has been incapable of building enough homes. The reforms we made to the planning system in the last parliament have started to improve the situation: planning permissions and housing starts are at a seven-year high.
“But we need to go further and I am not prepared to stand by when people who want to get on the housing ladder can’t do so. We’ll keep on protecting the green belt, but these latest planning reforms are a vital part of a comprehensive plan to confront the challenge of our lifetime and raise productivity and living standards.
“This will not be achieved overnight and will require a truly national effort by government, business and working people. But with this productivity plan, I believe that we have taken the vital first step towards securing the prosperity and a livelihoods of generations to come.
“It is my ambition that by 2030, Britain becomes the richest of all major economies.”
Jeremy Blackburn, head of policy at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, felt the Chancellor’s proposals are long overdue.
He said: “The announced government commitment to enforcing the completion of local plans and to ramping up development on brownfield land, through the new zonal system, are changes we called for long before the election. Both are key parts of getting building and development moving.
“Similarly, the conclusions of the review of compulsory purchase and compensation, in conjunction with the NSIP may prove to be much more significant in speeding up the delivery of major infrastructure projects than perhaps some might anticipate.
“While these new measures build on the National Planning Policy Framework and are welcome, the system needs to really pick up speed in order to deliver the vibrant property sector on which the success of our economy depends.”
The government stated that high density development was required around key commuter hubs.
Sajid Javid, secretary of state for business, said: “This plan lays the foundations for a stronger future. Every part of government will be involved.
“Under-supply of housing pushes up house prices in many areas and means millions of people can’t live and work where they want to, or even own their own home. We are absolutely determined to see more planning permissions granted and more houses built.”