Pressure for the government to deliver on its target of providing 300,000 new homes a year by the mid 2020s continues to rise.
In direct response to this, various moves are afoot to invest wider powers to councils at a local level across England, after calls for the government to be more active in its efforts to meet the quota.
Dominic Raab, the Housing Minister, has published proposals to award councils across England new powers to aid them in supplying much needed homes for their local communities. Each council will have the right to gain approval from the government to create a New Town Development Corporation. The main objective of each development corporation will be to provide new town and garden communities in each local area.
New towns and garden villages
Accountable to councils, the new development corporations will undertake master planning and project development, acquiring investors and funding, forming partnerships with developers and masterminding an entire new town or garden village project from planning to final completion, to provide tens of thousands of new homes.
Affordable housing should also be a major focus of the initiative, with current research indicating that in 2016-2017, only 23% of homes built were affordable, falling well below the 40% target. The criteria for affordable homes is based on their value not exceeding 80% of an average rental value in that specific area.
Harmonising with the local landscape
The Green Belt will still be protected and standard planning requirements will be adhered to, but the corporations will play an active role in how new homes shape the regional landscape. They will be led by council members, community stakeholders and experts in project development.
Dominic Raab added: “We need to build the homes our communities need and I’m committed to giving councils the tools they need to deliver. That’s why we’re giving councils the option of applying to establish development corporations. These will be locally accountable and must listen to the views of the community to ensure that the right homes are built in the right places.”