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Louise Mackay

Trainee Solicitor - West Kent (Hadlow)

26th October 2023

Government plans for housebuilding in England

On the 24th July 2023, we saw Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, issue a speech on the government’s long-term plan for housing with promises of regeneration of 20 of our towns and cities; flexibilities in conversion of commercial space into residential; building of new greener homes and creating new deals for tenants and landlords alike. But in the months since, have we seen changes? And how could proposals change the housebuilding market?

What were the aims of these plans?

The new proposed measures aim to make the conversion of empty retail spaces, shops and warehouses into flats and homes more straightforward. A key objective is to regenerate the vacant brownfield sites within towns and cities. Alongside this, there is to be a cutting of red tape to enable barn conversions and repurposing of disused warehouses and agricultural buildings.

What do these plans mean in reality?

But what will that mean in reality for those building the houses, when we continue to see falling levels of house building?

Time will tell whether the “super-squad” of planners, further training to planning authorities and a simplification of planning process will enable planning proposals backlogs to be cleared and a reduction in delays to the granting of planning permissions.

Developers may want to look deeper in cities and towns for their future developments. There are already laws in place that allow the conversion of commercial properties into homes without planning permission under permitted development rights. However, will we see further expansion of new permitted development rights become available?

Contact us

Our Commercial Property team can support developers with their future projects and would be happy to help. If you need any assistance then please contact the commercial property team.