OPTIMISM FOR LANDOWNERS AS QUEEN’S SPEECH UNVEILS NEW PLANNING BILL

2nd June 2021

Her Majesty the Queen delivered her annual speech at the State Opening of Parliament last month (May 2021), during which new legislation was proposed for housing, planning and development. But what does this mean for landowners? Our director, Trevor Wells offers some guidance…

“There’s no doubt the housing market is incredibly buoyant right now, in fact ONS (Office for National Statistics) figures show UK house prices are rising at their fastest rate for more than a decade*. Local authorities need to keep up their supply to respond to this demand, which we expect to be bolstered now The Queen has outlined the long-awaited Planning Bill. Focusing on the speed of housebuilding, the Planning Bill aims to reduce the time developments take to go through the planning system by establishing new guidance for how land is categorised, either as ‘protected’, ‘renewal’ or ‘growth’. For land which falls in the last two categories, councils are advised to look favourably on development.

“Whilst this ‘zoning’ isn’t without its criticism, and we await further details on specific classifications, it’s prudent to look where we can learn lessons from existing development and what makes parcels of land more viable. Have you ever driven past a new development and wondered why it’s there? Land that’s adjacent to settlement boundaries, well-connected to principal road networks, or in close proximity to major employment or infrastructure hubs is hugely appealing and will likely be brought forward for development soon.

“What’s interesting about the ONS data I referenced earlier is that some of the biggest rises have been seen outside London and the South East, a pattern we’re increasingly familiar with here in the Midlands. With excellent road and rail links, employment opportunities and educational facilities, it’s easy to see why the region is an attractive investment. In better news, the pandemic has also not dented confidence, and there’s a huge demand for residential development sites as council’s seek to achieve their five year targets.

“In our home county of Leicestershire alone, approval was granted for 2,750 new homes at Lutterworth East**, Harborough District Council must deliver almost 3,300 new homes in the next five years and Charnwood Borough Council has just this week (2 June 2021) announced plans for 17,000 new homes over the next 16 years***. So, for landowners in this area, we expect plenty of ‘renewal’ or ‘growth’ zones to be identified. Now’s the time to realise the true potential of your assets. If you’re unsure of what to do next or would like an appraisal, please get in touch.”

* BBC News, 1 June 2021, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57260261

** Leicester Mercury, 11 February 2021, https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/local-news/mp-disappointed-over-government-decision-4988618

*** Leicester Mercury, 2 June 2021 https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/local-news/huge-plan-staggering-17000-new-5464707

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