Housing and Planning Act 2016
The Housing and Planning Bill 2015 became law as the Housing and Planning Act 2016 on 13 May 2016. Ref Gov.uk Landmark Housing and Planning Bill receives Royal Assent.
The original Bill was introduced to parliament on 13 October 2015 as part of what David Cameron described as a “national crusade to get homes built”. It included new powers to overrule councils considered ‘reluctant’ to build homes, and to enable Whitehall to engage with local communities directly to allocate land for new building and force housing schemes through the planning system.
The government suggested it would be a key driver in creating opportunities for families to move from renting onto the property ladder with plans to construct 1 million new homes by 2020, an average of 200,000 a year.
However, the Bill had a difficult passage through the Houses of Commons and Lords. There was a six hour debate in the Commons, but ultimately opposition amendments were unsuccessful. In January 2016, it moved forward to the Lords were there was a great deal of criticism, and a number of very significant amendments were introduced. However, these were rejected by the Commons, and following some 'ping pong' between the two Houses, the Bill eventually received Royal Assent.
For more information see: Housing and Planning Bill 2015.
The Act introduced a number of measures:
- Extending the Right to Buy discounts to housing association tenants.
- Placing a duty on local planning authorities to promote the development of Starter Homes.
- Requiring local authorities to prepare, maintain and publish local registers of land.
- Supporting a doubling of the number of custom-built and self-built homes to 20,000 by 2020.
- Ensuring every area has a local plan.
- Reforming compulsory purchase.
- Simplifying and speeding up neighbourhood planning.
- Requiring social tenants on higher incomes to pay fairer rents.
- Placing a duty on local authorities to consider selling higher-value housing assets when they become vacant.
- Giving local authorities more powers to tackle rogue landlords.
- Improving local information on the private rented sector.
- Reducing regulatory controls for private registered providers of housing.
- Enabling lead enforcement authority for estate agents.
On receiving Royal Assent, Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said, "Our landmark Housing and Planning Act will help anyone who aspires to own their own home achieve their dream. It will increase housing supply alongside home ownership building on the biggest affordable house building program since the 1970s. The act will contribute to transforming generation rent into generation buy, helping us towards achieving our ambition of delivering 1 million new homes."
However, housing charity Shelter wrote, “Despite its contentiousness, there were always many positive aspects of the Bill, especially those related to tackling rogue landlords and encouraging private housebuilding. Unfortunately it’s on those areas on which government ambition was confined. The rest of the Bill, the heart of it, is instead dedicated not to growing the overall sum of affordable housing but to a rather unseemly redistribution of existing resource away from homes for working people on low incomes towards those on higher incomes.” Ref The problems for the Housing and Planning Bill are really just beginning… 12 May 2016.
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