Property lawyers at Penningtons Manches have welcomed a number of provisions in the Housing Bill announced in the Queen's Speech – particularly those relating to brownfield sites and the planning process:

  • To introduce a statutory register for brownfield land, to help achieve the target of getting Local Development Orders in place on 90% of suitable brownfield sites by 2020.
  • To simplify and speed up the neighbourhood planning system, to support communities that seek to meet local housing and other development needs through neighbourhood planning.

Martin Codd, head of the firm’s property entrepreneurs group, said: “The changes proposed in the new Housing Bill reflect the new government’s determination to tackle the huge challenge of building enough homes to meet present and future demand. These two provisions will help to alleviate the housing crisis and allow new brownfield sites to be identified and redeveloped.

“Let's hope that some of the other proposals to streamline the planning process will also help ease the log jam which is inherent in the system so that new homes can be built much more quickly.”

Codd also welcomes the changes proposed in the Bill to reform the Non-Domestic Rates system. These include:

  • To improve the business rates system ahead of the 2017 revaluation, including by modernising the appeals system
  • To introduce business rates appeals reform, including modifying the Valuation Tribunal powers to consider ratepayer appeals
  • To allow for the Valuation Office Agency to share information with local government to improve the system for both local government and ratepayers.

The Queen’s Speech can be read here.