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Rachel Reeves announces planning changes to boost housebuilding

8th July 2024

In her first speech as chancellor, Rachel Reeves has introduced a swathe of proposed changes to the planning system to deliver Labour’s housebuilding target of 1.5m homes over the next five years.

The proposed changes include:

  • A revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), prioritising growth and energy infrastructure,
  • Mandatory housbuilding targets including a national target of 1.5m homes over the next five years,
  • Ending the ban on onshore wind,
  • Recruiting 300 more planning officers,
  • Delivering more affordable homes,
  • Prioritising stalled housing
  • A brownfield and grey belt-first approach to housebuilding.

Brownfield ‘the best place to start’

Commenting on Ms. Reeve’s speech today, Lizzie Bundred-Woodward, Planning Policy Manager at CPRE, said:

‘We support Labour’s ambition to build more homes, however we’re in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. We need to see ambitious targets for genuinely affordable homes in line with local incomes, including specific targets for rural social homes in national planning policy. For too long, the housing system has prioritised profit over delivering affordable social homes, and this needs to change.

‘We’re also pleased to see a commitment to brownfield-first approach. We know there are enough shovel-ready brownfield sites for 1.2 million homes, much of which is close to where people already live, work and go to school. Brownfield sites are the best starting point for housebuilding programmes.

‘We urgently need some clarity on Labour’s definition of ‘grey belt’. The Green Belt is the countryside next door for 30 million people in towns and cities across the UK. It is crucial for food security, nature recovery, climate change mitigation alongside mental and physical wellbeing. We’ll always advocate for recycling previously developed land than eating away at the Green Belt.’

Woman walking through an affordable housing site
CPRE and English Rural by Kerry Harrison

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