Housing Associations urge Chancellor to adopt John’s ideas to build up not out

Britain’s largest housing associations have called on Philip Hammond, in next week’s Budget, to back a Conservative MP’s campaign to relax planning laws to allow for taller development.

Bosses of the G15 group of landlords, as well as Placeshapers, Midland Heart, Orbit and Places for People – which together delivered 97% of all housing association new builds in 2016/17 – wrote to the chancellor today to make the request.

They want Mr Hammond to announce measures in line with Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose’s ‘Build Up Not Out’ campaign.

The campaign calls for permitted development rights to be extended to allow urban property owners to build up to the height of the tallest buildings in the same block or the height of mature local trees without needing planning permission.

The move would be “an immediate and effective step towards solving the housing crisis” which could “substantially increase the supply of sites for development”, the housing associations’ letter said.

The letter claimed that a relaxation of the planning laws would make it easier to build upwards in urban centres and attract investment towns and cities, encourage smaller builders to develop and reduce urban sprawl.

Mr Penrose, who was formerly architecture and heritage minister, said: “I’m delighted that the industry is reacting so positively to this plan. We’ve simply got to build more homes, whether they’re to rent or to buy, so they’re cheap enough for everyone to afford.

“This will unlock huge numbers of new urban housebuilding sites, and the housing associations have the financial muscle, the skills and the networks of local building suppliers to break the stranglehold of large housebuilding firms, so we turn those new sites into homes much faster than before.”

February’s Housing White Paper said the government “intends to amend national planning guidance to highlight planning approaches that can be used to help support higher densities”.

Full letter text below

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