In a further drive to reach the Government’s target of building 300,000 new homes each year, Sajid Javid has issued a warning to housebuilders and NIMBYs alike.
The Government are frustrated that housing completion numbers are not increasing fast enough and so Mr Javid has instructed Sir Oliver Letwin to conduct a review into why more houses aren’t being built. One area that has been identified for particularly close attention is ‘land banking’, which some MPs believe is artificially constricting supply.
Some Conservative MPs have suggested a ‘use it or lose it’ clause be inserted into planning permissions, which would force developers once they gain approval to build out their sites within a set number of years. In a sign that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is seriously considering this option, Mr Javid said “I don’t think we should discount any idea at this point…There’s plenty of evidence of developers taking years. I’ve been to developments where there’s planning permission for 1,000 homes and the developer will tell you its plan is to build that over 20 years.”
However, the Government is also increasing pressure on local communities who are against more houses being built in their areas. He dispelled the idea that the Conservatives, with their localism agenda, were on the side of NIMBYs. In his message to those opposed to development in their areas Mr Javid said:
“We’ve got a housing crisis. We’ve got no time for anyone who is just anti-development for the sake of it. We need to change our attitude. If you are nimby, the government is not going to be your friend. We are on the side of people who want more homes.”
This week also marks the deadline Sajid Javid set for 15 local councils who had failed to adopt a Local Plan. In November Mr Javid said his patience had run out with these councils, and threatened intervention if sufficient progress wasn’t made.
There was no timeline laid out for the threatened intervention, but it seems likely that it will either come in the first half of March or after the 2018 local elections have taken place.