Queen’s Speech: Menu of planning reforms in bid to boost housing delivery

May 11, 2021
Rachel Colgan

The Queen’s speech today (11th May) marked the official reopening of the Houses of Parliament and outlined no less than 30 laws that are expected to pass over the next year.  She spoke about changes to the planning system that will affect property in England, with an aim to boost housing delivery and help the balance of demand and supply.

Planning Bill

The new legislation could overhaul the planning system, replacing the current case-by-case assessment of planning applications with a zoning system. During her speech, Queen Elizabeth II stated: “Laws to modernise the planning system so that more homes can be built will be brought forward along with measures to end the process of ground rent for new leasehold properties.”

“My ministers will establish in law a new building safety regulator to ensure that the tragedies of the past are never repeated,” the monarch continued.

The details are yet to be disclosed in full, however the advent of ‘growth’ zones appear to be receiving mixed reviews so far.

Client Santhosh Gowda, Chairman of Strawberry Star, said: “Modernising our time-honoured planning laws was never going to be easy, but certainly the idea of a dynamic, flexible, digitalised system is an exciting prospect for all. It will be a balancing act to boost housing supply without compromising on design, community, and ecology, whilst also ensuring it fits with the government’s ‘Building Better Building Beautiful’ ethos too.”

‘First Homes’ scheme

Meanwhile, the long-awaited pilot of the ‘First Homes’ initiative has launched in Bolsover. ‘First Homes’ are new flats and houses that will be no different from other properties except they will be sold with a discount of at least 30% to local people who want to stay in the community where they live or work but are struggling to purchase a home at market prices. Properties under the scheme will be prioritised for first time buyers, serving members and veterans of the Armed Forces, and key workers, such as nurses, police, and teachers. The discount will be passed on to future buyers when First Homes are resold so more people can be helped onto the ladder.

Client Lynda Clark, Editor of First Time Buyer Magazine, commented on the scheme: “It is reassuring to hear that homes under the scheme will always remain affordable even if they are sold, which will ensure future generations of homeowners are supported, however it is imperative that the scheme does not eat into existing affordable housing supply but rather complements it.”