The government will meet its manifesto commitment to build 1 million homes over this Parliament, the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has announced today.

Reaching this target would represent another important milestone in the government’s already successful housebuilding strategy. Since 2010, over 2.2 million new homes have been delivered and millions of people have moved into home ownership.

The pledge comes ahead of a major speech by the Housing and Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove, today [Monday 24 July] in which he will set out new measures to unblock the planning system and build more homes in the right places where there is local consent.

Rather than concreting over the countryside, the government will focus on prioritising building in inner-city areas where demand is highest and growth is being constrained. This includes a new urban quarter in Cambridge which will unlock the city’s full potential as a source of innovation and talent. Working with local leaders and communities in Cambridge, a new quarter will create new beautiful homes, supported by state of the art facilities with cutting-edge laboratories and green spaces.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

Today I can confirm that we will meet our manifesto commitment to build 1 million homes over this Parliament. That’s a beautiful new home for a million individual families in every corner of our country.

We need to keep going because we want more people to realise the dream of owning their own home.

We won’t do that by concreting over the countryside – our plan is to build the right homes where there is the most need and where there is local support, in the heart of Britain’s great cities.

Our reforms today will help make that a reality, by regenerating disused brownfield land, streamlining planning process and helping homeowners to renovate and extend their houses outwards and upwards.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove said:

Most people agree that we need to build more homes – the question is how we go about it.

Rather than concreting over the countryside, we have set out a plan today to build the right homes in the right places where there is community support – and we’re putting the resources behind it to help make this vision a reality.

At the heart of this is making sure that we build beautiful and empower communities to have a say in the development in their area.

The Government will also take steps to unblock the bottlenecks in the planning system that are choking and slowing down development, and stopping growth and investment by:

  • Immediately launching a £24 million Planning Skills Delivery Fund to clear backlogs and get the right skills in place.
  • Setting up a new “super-squad” team of leading planners and other experts charged with working across the planning system to unblock major housing developments. The team will first be deployed in Cambridge to turbocharge our plans in the city.

Developers will also be asked to contribute more through fees, to help support a higher quality more efficient planning service.

New flexibilities to convert shops, takeaways and betting shops into homes will help to rejuvenate the high street. Meanwhile, red tape will be cut to enable barn conversions and the repurposing agricultural buildings and disused warehouses.

New freedoms to extend homes, convert lofts and renovate new buildings will help to convert existing properties into new accommodation. A review into the extension of permitted development rights will make it easier for homeowners to build upwards and outwards – with new extensions and loft conversions – whilst ensuring neighbours’ interests are protected.

Community support is vital in making these plans a success and the Housing Secretary has been clear any developments must be beautiful, come with the right infrastructure and designed with locals in mind. That is why the Housing Secretary is also today announcing:

  • Office for Place – a new body will be launched today to lead a design revolution and ensure local people have a say in how housing is designed.
  • A consultation on reforming local plans, to make them simpler, shorter and more visual, showing clearly what is planned in local areas so communities can engage.

Verity Davidge, Director of Policy, Make UK Modular said:

 “Today’s announcement to manage the housing planning backlog through a planning skills delivery fund is a step in the right direction. Part of the fund should be dedicated towards ensuring planners have the knowledge and expertise of modular housebuilding too, which can help tackle the housing crisis we face in the UK.

 “That said, these policies only begin to scratch the surface and we need to see more ambitious reforms to housing. Lowering stamp duty for EPC A rated homes and allocating a higher proportion of the affordable housing programme to modular housing would unleash the potential of a dynamic and innovative sector able to provide homes greener, faster and better.”

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