• The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, yesterday reiterated in the 2016 Autumn Statement that a new Housing White Paper will be being released by the Government in due course.
  • This follows Monday’s Written Statement by the Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell that he has laid before Parliament a revised “Improving Planning Performance: Criteria for Designation” document, which sets out revised criteria that the Secretary of State intends to use for designating a Local Planning Authority as ‘underperforming’.
  • Yesterday’s Autumn Statement also introduced a £2.3 billion ‘Housing Infrastructure Fund’ to try and help encourage the building of up to 100,000 extra homes in ‘high-demand areas’.
  • The Autumn Statement also announced that the Government has agreed to an additional 1.4 billion spending on affordable housing in England – where Local Authorities will have great flexibility to bid for the money under one of the three existing schemes: ‘Affordable Rent’, ‘Shared Ownership’ or ‘Rent to Buy’. It is reportedly aimed at trying to facilitate the building of 40,000 extra new affordable homes in England.
  • It has also been reported that this extra funding means London’s Affordable Homes Programme will go up from £1.07 billion in 2015-18, to £3.15 billion in 2015-2021. This investment is reportedly aimed at trying to facilitate the building of a range of different types of affordable homes across the capital.
  • There has additionally been £1.1 billion extra investment announced yesterday in English local transport networks; £220m to reduce traffic pinch points and £23bn to be spent on innovation and infrastructure over five years.

With a new White Paper expected with further planning reforms anticipated, Local Authority and Mayoral Elections in 2017, and formal Brexit negotiations on the horizon, there has never been a more important time for public and private sector land owners to be fully engaged with the planning system.