Yesterday George Osborne MP, delivered his Autumn Statement and Comprehensive Spending Review to the House of Commons. Emphasising economic security, the Chancellor vowed to re-build Britain with major announcements on housing, infrastructure and devolution. The main features of interest are:
- reform the planning system
- amend planning policy to "support small sites, while ensuring protection for existing gardens", and said that the government would "halve the length of the planning guarantee for minor developments"
- bring forward proposals for a "more standardised approach to viability assessments, and extend the ability to appeal against unviable section 106 agreements to 2018"
- bring forward further reforms to the planning system, "including establishing a new delivery test on local authorities to ensure delivery against the number of homes set out in local plans"
- bring forward proposals to strengthen the special measures regime, "by lowering the threshold for the quality of decisions to 10 per cent of all major decisions overturned on appeal. Wider circumstances, such as the status of the local plan and whether appeals relate to this, will be taken into account"
- deliver 400,000 affordable homes by 2020-2021
- supporting the regeneration of previously developed brownfield sites in the green belt by allowing them to be developed in the same way as other brownfield land, providing it contributes to Starter Homes, and subject to local consultation ... such as through neighbourhood plans"
- push ahead with the extension of Right to Buy to Housing Association tenants
- invest in estate regeneration and SME housebuilders
- support the development of a garden city at Ebbsfleet
- transport investment is set to increase by 50 per cent
- nine new prisons will also be built, with plans to sell off old Victorian sites for redevelopment
- increasing funding to tackle climate change
- cuts of 40 per cent to a scheme backing green heating systems
- up to ten per cent of tax revenue from shale gas extraction could also be reinvested in communities hosting shale gas developments through a 'Shale Wealth Fund'
- investment in northern businesses and transport
- a pledge that, by 2020, councils will be able to keep 100 per cent of the business rates that they collect to spend on local services
>> read the Autumn Statement in full