Government sets out plans to regenerate England’s cities

England housing, new homes,

Plans for England to recover from the pandemic and help provide much-needed new homes have been set out by housing secretary Robert Jenrick today (16 December)

Following a consultation launched in the summer that sought views from planners, councils and the wider public, the government has announced its plan for enabling the delivery of more homes across England.

A housing need formula is currently used to provide a starting point in the process of local planning for new homes.

An updated method will now be introduced to help councils to enable the delivery of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s while prioritising brownfield sites and urban areas.

Under the proposals, cities will be encouraged to plan for more family homes – which are the right size and type for families to live in – and to make the most of vacant buildings and underused land to protect green spaces.

The plans will encourage more homes to be built in England’s 20 largest cities and urban centres, boosting local economies by supporting jobs in the building sector and revitalising high streets with the footfall new residents bring.

The government also intends to revise the so-called ‘80/20 rule’ which guides how much funding is available to local areas to help build homes.

This will establish a new principle to ensure funding is not just concentrated in London and the South East.

To further support local areas in delivering these homes, and following the £20bn investment in housing announced as part of last month’s Spending Review.

The government is also:

  • Allocating more than £67m in funding to the West Midlands and Greater Manchester Mayoral Combined Authorities to help them deliver new homes on brownfield land, as well as confirming an additional £100m of funding for brownfield development.
  • Announcing that in January the government plans to launch a new £100m Brownfield Land Release fund to support brownfield development, estates regeneration, development on public sector land and self and custom-build serviced plots in coming forward. This will be open to councils across England, apart from those Mayoral Combined Authority areas that recently benefited from our £400m brownfield fund. A significant portion of this new £100m will go supporting self and custom-builders – a growing sector which government is committed to. We invite councils to use the time between now and the prospectus launch to start to consider and prepare their bids.
  • The government is encouraging councils to ensure that appropriate numbers of family homes come forward, with the right mix of home sizes, types and tenures for local communities.

Forging a new country beyond Covid

Robert Jenrick MP, said: “This government wants to build more homes as a matter of social justice, for intergenerational fairness and to create jobs for working people.

“We are reforming our planning system to ensure it is simpler and more certain without compromising standards of design, quality and environmental protection.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated and magnified patterns that already existed, creating a generational opportunity for the repurposing of offices and retail as housing and for urban renewal.

“We want this to be an opportunity for a new trajectory for our major cities – one which helps to forge a new country beyond Covid – which is more beautiful, healthier, more prosperous, more neighbourly and where more people have the security and dignity of a home of their own.

“A new expert Urban Centre Recovery Task Force has been set up to advise on the development and regeneration of our great town and city centres. The Task Force includes Peter Freeman, the visionary behind the redevelopment of Kings Cross and new chair of Homes England.”


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