New Housing Strategy announced by the chancellor

New chancellor Rachel Reeves has reaffirmed Labour's pledge to build 1.5 million homes over the next five years, a key promise in the party's election manifesto. Reeves outlined several major initiatives the new government will pursue, including the reintroduction of mandatory housebuilding targets.

She also declared the lifting of the ban on onshore wind farms and announced the creation of a task force to speed up stalled housing projects. To support these efforts, 300 additional planning officers will be appointed nationwide. "We will reform the National Planning Policy Framework, consulting on a new growth-focused approach to the planning system before the end of the month, including restoring mandatory housing targets," Reeves stated in her inaugural speech as chancellor.

"As of today, we are ending the absurd ban on new onshore wind in England. We will also go further and consult on bringing onshore wind back into the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects regime, meaning decisions on large developments will be taken nationally, not locally." Reeves indicated that the government will also review previously rejected planning applications that could benefit the economy and prioritize the development of brownfield and greybelt land to meet housing targets. To ensure the necessary infrastructure is delivered, the planning system will be overhauled, with new policy plans for critical infrastructure to be announced in the coming months.

Reeves stressed the importance of these measures in tackling the nation's housing crisis and boosting economic growth. By focusing on brownfield and greybelt land, Labour aims to balance development with environmental considerations, while the additional planning officers are expected to expedite the approval process for new housing projects.

Meanwhile, stakeholders in the property industry welcomed the new government's commitment to reforming the planning system and accelerating growth. Phil Lawford, national account manager at Saffron for Intermediaries, noted that the introduction of mandatory housebuilding targets will help address the supply issues that have plagued the housing market in recent years. "It is important, however, that this burst of announcements is the beginning of a plan that will deliver homes in the long-term, and not just hot air from a government trying to make its mark," Lawford said.

"What also remains to be seen is whether any targets for the energy efficiency of new homes will be announced, to go alongside today's policies enabling more housebuilding across the country. The UK's housing stock is some of the worst in Europe when it comes to energy efficiency, so it would be good to see this recognized in policy in the coming months."


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