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Network Homes responds to the Government’s white paper on planning reforms

30 October 2020

Network Homes welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Government’s Planning for the Future white paper. Overall, we feel the paper lacks some detail in key areas and the implementation could go one of two ways.

The proposals have potential to combine:

  • Higher housing need figures in areas of the worst affordability pressures,
  • The use of growth zones to allow more homes to be delivered,
  • The use of renewal zones to allow substantial densification of suburban areas, and
  • A fixed and ungameable infrastructure levy to reduce land prices and fund more affordable housing.

Together a huge opportunity to vastly increase the supply of new homes and new affordable homes for low rents.

But the proposals, if not fully considered could also combine:

  • A rushed and under-resourced Plan-making process,
  • An ill-devised zoning system without appropriate rules in place guaranteeing quality or placemaking, and
  • The overhauling of a (for all its flaws) successful system of capturing land value and delivering affordable homes and replacing it with a development tax that either makes schemes unviable, or reallocates revenue from low rent homes towards homeownership products that are unaffordable in most of the country.

This creates a risk that the supply of homes will either fall or reduce in quality, and the supply of new genuinely affordable homes will plummet from already insufficient amounts.

We look forward to working with the Government on refining the bold ideas in the paper so that the best scenario becomes.

Planning for the Future full response