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Monday, 23 November 2020 09:30

Government Looks Set to Rebalance Housing Algorithm Following Backlash

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Further to the article posted on this site on 10th November....

Proposals for the algorithm used to calculate how many homes should be built in each area will be revised following a political backlash, the government has confirmed #UKhousing
In August, ministers launched a consultation on a new suggested formula for its “standard method” for working out housing need across local authorities.

At the same time, white paper proposals set out the government's long-term ambition to make these figures a binding housebuilding target for councils as part of sweeping reforms to the planning system.

Some senior Conservative MPs slammed the plans, including former prime minister Theresa May, who branded them "mechanistic" and "ill-conceived".

Ms May and others claimed that the new formula would place greater emphasis on development in London and the South East, putting pressure on these regions and undermining ministers’ vision of “levelling up” the Midlands and the North.

Local Government Association analysis found it would mean a 161% rise in housing delivery in the capital and a 66% decrease in Newcastle.

Reports emerged over last weekend claiming that the government will revise its plans for the new algorithm following the revolt.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has now confirmed  that the reports are accurate and that it will seek to “rebalance” the formula.

It is expected that the revised formula will shift more weight to development in the Midlands and the North, as well as urban areas where demand for office and retail space has dropped amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick told the House of Commons on Monday: “We are seeing the most substantial change to our city centres and town centres since the Second World War, and that does give us pause for reflection.

“We now need to consider what the opportunities will be for the repurposing of offices as residential and for turning retail into mixed use, and that will, I think, lead us to a different approach to distributing housing numbers across the country.”

Mr Jenrick added that he will make a statement on the revised plans “in the weeks ahead”.
The government has a target to build 300,000 homes a year in England by the mid-2020s.

In 2018/19, the last year for which there are robust figures, around 241,000 homes were delivered following significant increases over the previous three years.

However, development has dropped significantly since the onset of the coronavirus crisis.

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