The government has launched a consultation on proposals for a new approach to assessing local housing need – trailed this morning by the housing minister Alok Sharma at RESI 2017.

Alok Sharma DCLG

Speaking at Property Week’s RESI event today, Sharma said “local authorities need to get their local plans in order” and that today’s proposals were about creating “an open and honest approach to assessing local housing need”.

Proposals in the consultation include:

  • a standard method for calculating local authorities’ housing need
  • how neighbourhood planning groups can have greater certainty on the level of housing need to plan for
  • a statement of common ground to improve how local authorities work together to meet housing and other needs across boundaries
  • making the use of viability assessments simpler, quicker and more transparent
  • increased planning application fees in those areas where local planning authorities are delivering the homes their communities need.

In launching the consultation, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid wrote: “Our housing White Paper, published earlier this year, set out how we’re going to get England building. We are delivering our 2015 commitment of a million new homes by 2020, and want to supply a further half a million by 2022.

“The measures in this consultation will help ensure that local authorities plan for the right homes in the right places. This means creating a system that is clear and transparent so that every community and local area understands the scale of the housing challenge they face.

“We do not want local authorities wasting time and money on complex, inconsistent and expensive processes. This only creates lengthy bureaucratic arguments, often behind closed doors, and isolates local communities.

“The new approach proposed will give local communities greater control so they can make informed decisions about exactly where much-needed new homes should be built. In doing so it will help to tackle the lack of affordability of housing in this country, and support those families who want the security of owning their own home.”