Chancellor Rachel Reeves focuses on planning reforms and “grey belt” as part of her maiden speech

News / Tue 9th Jul 2024 at 07:58am

THE CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer has delivered her first key note speech just a few days after Labour won a landslide victory at the General Election.

The whole speech is below but we thought we would highlight the part on planning.

Ms Reeves said:

We are to put growth at the centre of our planning system, that means changes not only to the system itself, but to the way that ministers use our powers for direct intervention.

The Deputy Prime Minister has said that when she intervenes in the economic planning system, the benefit of development will be a central consideration and that she will not hesitate to review an application where the potential gain for the regional and national economies warrant it.

… and I welcome her decision to recover two planning appeals already, for data centres in Buckinghamshire and in Hertfordshire.

To facilitate this new approach, the Deputy Prime Minister will also write to local mayors and the Office for Investment to ensure that any investment opportunity with important planning considerations that comes across their desks is brought to her attention and also to mine.

The Deputy Prime Minister will also write to Local Planning Authorities alongside the National Planning Policy Framework consultation, making clear what will now be expected of them…

…including universal coverage of local plans, and reviews of greenbelt boundaries. These will prioritise Brownfield and grey belt land for development to meet housing targets where needed.

And our golden rules will make sure the development this frees up will allow us to deliver thousands of the affordable homes too, including more for social rent.

Sixth, as well as unlocking new housing, we will also reform the planning system to deliver the infrastructure that our country needs.

Together, we will ask the Secretaries of State for Transport and Energy Security and Net Zero to prioritise decisions on infrastructure projects that have been sitting unresolved for far too long.

And finally, we will set out new policy intentions for critical infrastructure in the coming months, ahead of updating relevant National Policy Statements within the year.

I know that there will be opposition to this.

I’m not naïve to that;

And we must acknowledge that trade offs always exist: any development may have environmental consequences, place pressure on services, and rouse voices of local opposition.

But we will not succumb to a status quo which responds to the existence of trade-offs by always saying no, and relegates the national interest below other priorities.

We will make those tough decisions, to realise that mandate. 


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4 Comments for Chancellor Rachel Reeves focuses on planning reforms and “grey belt” as part of her maiden speech:

David Forman
2024-07-09 08:25:18

It is welcome to hear about more affordable homes, including social rent homes. However, if the government want 300,000 houses built each year that will mostly be for sale or market rent, they overlook the fact that the big private house builders have a vested interest in limiting supply. How Rachel Reeves and Angela Rayner solve that problem should be worth watching!

David Forman
2024-07-09 08:41:18

It's worth examining what economist Liam Halligan told a Parliamentary select committee in 2020 about planning permissions: "In 2010, local authorities granted permission for just 155,637 housing units – way below the 250,000 housing completions required each year, as recommended by the 2004 Barker Report. By 2015, some 272,500 planning permissions were granted, rising again in 2017 to 370,400 permissions. By 2017, no less than 80.5% of all residential planning applications were being accepted. Even in 2010, though, the approval rate was up at 73.5%. So, the planning system alone, while often expensive and troublesome to navigate, particularly for SMEs, is no longer, and perhaps never was, a formidable barrier to large developers building more homes. By continually making this claim, the UK’s big housebuilders distract the attention of ministers away from the genuine underlying problem – the lack of genuine competition across an increasingly oligopolistic UK housebuilding industry." See evidence at https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&opi=89978449&url=https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/2743/pdf/&ved=2ahUKEwj6sb_Ux5mHAxX3TUEAHZgWAUsQFnoECBoQAQ&usg=AOvVaw3H6OJmJ40RMksKA6L8huaM

Guy Flegman
2024-07-09 08:55:50

No one seems to want to address the elephant in the room on housing. Where are they going to find the people to build these houses. More people are leaving the building trade than joining every year, and the average age of the workers in the building trade is high. Seems no one wants a manual Labour skilled job any more as successive governments have convinced people to go to uni, get a degree then work from home behind a computer.

2024-07-10 21:16:42

More ugly blocks of flats on their way no doubt.

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