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PD Rights Expand & Other News

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Permitted development entitlements to be extended

Housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell has revealed that permitted development (PD) rights are to be expanded to allow more offices to be repurposed for residential use. Speaking at the London Property Summit in November, Barwell explained how relaxing the entitlements would allow office buildings to be demolished, creating space for like-for-like housing. “There's a profound need to build more homes in this country,” he said. He also outlined how the government is seeking to unlock more land for development projects.

10%

is the year-on-year increase in new build completions the Scottish Conservatives have called for to ensure that the target of 25,000 new homes per year is achieved. The party accused the SNP of failing to construct enough new dwellings to meet the current level of demand, and has also suggested that self build should be a major component in a “house building revolution”. Scottish government figures show that the number of completions in 2015-2016 fell to 15,854 from 16,209 the previous year.

Funding to enable new plots

The government’s Autumn Statement brought forward a flurry of new funding initiatives to boost the UK’s home building sector. One such measure is the Housing Infrastructure Fund. Set to be worth £2.3 billion by 2020-21, it will be distributed amongst local councils to bring on viable plots by investing in roads, drainage and other services, making sites build-ready. “Key to the fund’s success will be ensuring that it unlocks large numbers of small plots,” says Sarah McMonagle, director of external affairs at the Federation of Master Builders.

BSA backs alternative construction methods

A document published by the Building Societies Association (BSA) advises that transforming the image of innovative offsite building methods in the UK could help ease the housing crisis. According to the report, branching out from mainstream site-based routes like brick-and-block could provide a greater number of homes at a faster and less costly rate than currently possible.

The UK’s self builders already look to methods such as timber frame and structural insulated panels to create their own bespoke homes − though masonry remains popular. The report also suggests that the UK should look towards examples set in places like Germany and Japan for inspiration. “We have to explore radical solutions to solve the housing crisis,” says BSA chairman Dick Jenkins.

Image: Welsh Oak Frame

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