Housing plans to compel councils to pressure developers

The new housing strategy for England will include plans to force councils to plan for their local housing needs and grant them powers to pressure developers to start building on land they own.

In a statement to MPs, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid set out the details of the housing White Paper, which included: forcing councils to produce an up-to-date plan for housing demand; expecting developers to avoid ‘low density’ housing where land availability is short; reducing the time allowed between planning permission and the start of building from three to two years; using a £3 billion fund to help smaller building firms challenge major developers, including support for off-site construction, where parts of buildings are assembled in a factory; a ‘lifetime ISA’ to help first-time buyers save for a deposit; and a maintaining protection for the green belt, which can only be built on ‘in exceptional circumstances’

The government has claimed that at least 250,000 new homes are needed annually to plug the housing gap and has urged local councils and developers to ‘get real’ in understanding scale of the challenge.

Ahead of the release of the White Paper, Javid will said: "Walk down your local high street today and there's one sight you're almost certain to see. Young people, faces pressed against the estate agent's window, trying and failing to find a home they can afford.

"With prices continuing to skyrocket, if we don't act now, a whole generation could be left behind. We need to do better, and that means tackling the failures at every point in the system.

"The housing market in this country is broken and the solution means building many more houses in the places that people want to live."