The Housing White Paper 2017 – the final proposal!

Part 4 of 4:  ‘Helping People Now’

The White Paper set out a broad range of reforms and alongside the document, the government published supporting technical documents which provided the evidence underpinning many of the white paper proposals.

What considerations were taken and what questions were asked?

Here are 5 key consultation documents which provided the evidence…

  1. Response to changes to the National Planning Policy Framework Consultations.

National Planning Policy: consultation on proposed changes (read more)

  1. Response to the starter homes regulations: technical consultation.

Starter home regulations: technical consultation (read more)

  1. Report of the Local Plans Expert Group – summary of representations and government response to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.

 Report of the Local Plans Expert Group: government response to the CLG select committee inquiry (read more)

  1. Summary of responses to the technical consultation on implementation of planning changes, consultation on upward extensions and Rural Planning Review call for evidence.

Implementation of planning changes technical consultation (read more)

Upward extensions in London (read more)

Rural planning review: call for evidence (read more)

  1. Community infrastructure levy review and Three Dragon and University of Reading research report.

Community infrastructure levy review: report to government (read more)

So, how are the government going to ‘Help People Now’?

 They have proposed the following…

A – Continuing to support people to buy their own home – through ‘Help to Buy’ and ‘Starter Homes’:

  • In April 2017, the government will introduce the Lifetime ISA
  • They have committed £8.6 billion for the scheme to 2021, ensuring it continues to support homebuyers and stimulate housing supply. They also recognise the need to create certainty for prospective home owners and developers beyond 2021, so will work with the sector to consider the future of the scheme
  • They intend to make clear through the NPPF that starter homes, like shared ownership homes, should be available to households that need them most, with an income of less than £80,000 (£90,000 for London). Eligible first time buyers will also be required to have a mortgage
  • There will also be a 15 year repayment period for a starter home

The government will also change the NPPF to allow more brownfield land to be released for developments with a higher proportion of starter homes by:

  • Clarifying that starter homes, with appropriate local connection tests, can be acceptable on rural exception sites
  • The £1.2 billion Starter Home Land Fund will be invested to support the preparation of brownfield sites to support these developments
  • Through this wider range of government programmes, they expect to help over 200,000 people become homeowners by the end of the Parliament

B – Helping households who are priced out of the market to afford a decent home that is right for them through our investment in the Affordable Homes Programme:

  • In the Autumn Statement the government announced an extra £1.4bn for the Affordable Homes Programme, taking total investment in this programme to over £7bn to build around 225,000 affordable homes in this Parliament
  • Now they have opened up the programme, relaxing restrictions on funding so providers can build a range of homes including for affordable rent
  • They remain supportive of institutional investment in shared ownership and welcome suggestions for how they could assist the growth of this sector

C – Making renting fairer for tenants:

  • The government will consult early this year, ahead of bringing forward legislation as soon as Parliamentary time allows, to ban letting agent fees to tenants
  • They will implement measures introduced in the Housing and Planning Act 2016, which will introduce banning orders to remove the worst landlords or agents from operating, and enable local councils to issue fines as well as prosecute
  • In addition to that, they are proposing to make the private rented sector more family-friendly by taking steps to promote longer tenancies on new build rental homes, as set out in Part: 3

D – Taking action to promote transparency and fairness for the growing number of leaseholders:

  • The government will therefore consult on a range of measures to tackle all unfair and unreasonable abuses of leasehold

E – Improving neighbourhoods by continuing to crack down on empty homes, and supporting areas most affected by second homes:

  • The new Community Housing Fund, which is supporting communities to take the lead in developing homes, including in areas particularly affected by second homes, they will consider whether any additional measures are needed
  • The government will also continue to support local authorities to encourage efficient use of the existing stock, making best use of homes that are long-term empty

F – Encouraging the development of housing that meets the needs of our future population:

  • The government is introducing a new statutory duty through the Neighbourhood Planning Bill on the Secretary of State to produce guidance for local planning authorities on how their local development documents should meet the housing needs of older and disabled people
  • They want to build on the evidence that already exists to help deliver outcomes that are best for older people.

G – Helping the most vulnerable who need support with their housing, developing a sustainable and workable approach to funding supported housing in the future:

  • The detailed arrangements for implementing the new model and approach to short term accommodation will be set out in a subsequent Green Paper which we will publish this Spring

H – Doing more to prevent homelessness by supporting households at risk before they reach crisis point as well as reducing rough sleeping:

  • The government is supporting Bob Blackman MP’s Homelessness Reduction Bill
  • Doubling the size of the Rough Sleeping Fund
  • Establishing a network of expert advisors to work closely with all local authorities to help bring them to the standard of the best
  • Exploring new models to support those that are the hardest to help
  • Want to consider whether social lettings agencies can be an effective tool

Sustainable Development and environment Proposals:

  • Together constitute its view of what sustainable development means for the planning system in England
  • The government propose to amend the list of climate change factors set out in the policy itself to include rising temperatures
  • They propose to make clear that local planning policies should support measures for the future resilience of communities and infrastructure to climate change
  • They will make some amendments to clarify the application of the Exception Test
  • Clarify that planning applications for minor developments and changes of use are expected to meet the requirements of paragraph 103 of the document
  • Planning policies to manage flood risk should, where relevant, also address cumulative flood risks which could result from the combined impacts of a number of new but separate developments in (or affecting) areas identified as susceptible to flooding
  • Planning policies and decisions should take account of existing businesses and other organisations. Where necessary, to mitigate the impact of noise and other potential nuisances arising from existing development
  • The government proposes to amend the wording of paragraph 98 of the Framework

We listened to the debate on the White Paper, here are some high-lights:

  • Nicolas Soames “Neighbourhood plans are being undermined by rogue developers.”

Nicholas Soames MP is a British Conservative Party Member of Parliament for the constituency of Mid Sussex. Soames is a former Defence minister having served in the government of John Major.

  • John Healey – “Is this it?” and later added, “This is not a plan to fix the housing crisis!”

John Healey is a British Labour Party politician and former trade union and charity campaigner, who has been the Member of Parliament for Wentworth and Dearne since 1997, and Minister of State for Housing. In 2010 he was elected to the shadow cabinet and appointed shadow health secretary. He stood down from the role in October 2011 and was succeeded by Andy Burnham.

  • Tim Baron called the White Paper an unambitious paper and that where the paper states ‘an average household annual wage was £80,000’, in his constituency average annual wage was £28,000! He called for more genuinely affordable homes and for the borrowing cap to be lifted. In response, Sajid Javid said that this was an opportunity for a cross party approach, but John Healey chose to use party politics
  • Whilst the SOS said that supply is the key to resolving the housing crisis, both Lucy Powell and Tracy Brabin criticized the SOS as supply is not the only reason, it is the rogue landlords within the Private Rented Sector that have properties which are unfit for human habitation which also plays a key part
  • One MP called for the house to address the elephant in the room which was the ideological pursuance of the Right to Buy scheme and the impact on Home Ownership and called for the SOS to confirm this was being removed – he would not confirm this
  • Many MPs asked the SOS to respond to Local Authorities requests to raise the cap so that they can build more affordable homes. Desmond Swayne MP called for greater empowerment of the public sector

Other notable points raised in the debate…

  • Capacity of planning departments – planning departments can increase their fees by 20%
  • Fees are being introduced for planning appeals
  • More measures introduced to speed up delivery including greater CPO powers through auction of sites, more straight forward completion notice processes and expiry of permissions
  • A developer’s track record can now be taken into account when reviewing development proposals
  • There is a requirement for all local authorities to show that they have exhausted all brownfield land first and have looked at density.  Density is a key area within this white paper
  • For the first time, the white paper sets out the steps that local authorities must take to show that they have looked at all other reasonable alternatives before releasing Green Belt sites

Here’s an interesting read…

Take a step back in time to when “Most people in Britain were well housed”.

The Housing Green Paper 2000 (read more)

What are your thoughts? Have your say…

The consultation will begin on 7th February 2017. The consultation will run for 12 weeks and will close on 2 May 2017. All responses should be received by no later than 23:45 on 2 May 2017.

This consultation is open to everyone. The government are keen to hear from a wide range of interested parties from across the public and private sectors, as well as from the general public.

During the consultation, if you have any enquiries, please contact:

You may respond by completing an online survey here

Alternatively you can email your response to the questions in this consultation to:

If you are responding in writing, please make it clear which questions you are responding to. Written responses should be sent to: Planning Policy Consultation Team Department for Communities and Local Government Third Floor, South East Fry Building 2 Marsham Street SW1P 4DF

When you reply it would be very useful if you confirm whether you are replying as an individual or submitting an official response on behalf of an organisation and include:

  • Your name
  • Your position (if applicable)
  • The name of organisation (if applicable)
  • An address (including post-code)
  • An email address
  • A contact telephone number

Sustainable Development and Environment Questions:

Question 34

Do you agree with the proposals to amend national policy to make clear that the reference to the three dimensions of sustainable development, together with the core planning principles and policies at paragraphs 18-219 of the National Planning Policy Framework, together constitute the Government’s view of what sustainable development means for the planning system in England?

Question 35

Do you agree with the proposals to amend national policy to:

  1. Amend the list of climate change factors to be considered during plan-making, to include reference to rising temperatures?
  2. Make clear that local planning policies should support measures for the future resilience of communities and infrastructure to climate change?

Question 36

Do you agree with these proposals to clarify flood risk policy in the National Planning Policy Framework?

Question 37

Do you agree with the proposal to amend national policy to emphasise that planning policies and decisions should take account of existing businesses when locating new development nearby and, where necessary, to mitigate the impact of noise and other potential nuisances arising from existing development?

Question 38

Do you agree that in incorporating the Written Ministerial Statement on wind energy development into paragraph 98 of the National Planning Policy Framework, no transition period should be included?

Read the full Housing White Paper 2017 here.

We hope you found our 4 part review of the Housing White Paper 2017 useful. If you have any comments or questions please contact us. We would be happy to advise you on planning or anything else you wish to discuss.

If there is a particular topic that you would like covered in one of our blog posts, do let us know.

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