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Government targets cities and relaxes planning in bid to solve housing crisis

House-Building

A new housing plan would allow shops, takeaways and betting shops to be turned into homes while homeowners would have greater freedoms to carry out property extensions and open up lofts.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove says under the proposals, the government's main focus will be on housing developments in the UK's major cities where demand is highest and growth is being constrained as it bids to unblock the planning system and build more homes in the right places where there is local consent. The plan also includes regenerating 20 towns and cities across England.

michael gove

New homes

He wants to unleash a wave of new homes in Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, using development corporations which councils would bid to set up. Those government-sponsored bodies would then use compulsory purchase orders to buy up land and sell chunks on to developers to build new homes. A new '�planning super-squad' called the Action Taskforce for Land Assembly Sites would review permitted development rights and support development in these big sites.

When asked about how it would prevent investors from buying up all the new housing, Gove said: 'We need a healthy rental sector. We have taken steps to ensure that it's more expensive to acquire a second property than a first property '� but there's more that we can do and more will follow.'�

Negative impact

Shaun Davies, chair of the Local Government Association, believes premises such as offices, barns, and shops are not always suitable for housing. He adds: 'Further expanding permitted development rights risks creating poor quality residential environments that negatively impact people's health and wellbeing, as well as a lack of affordable housing or suitable infrastructure.'�

The proposals come as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced it would meet its manifesto commitment to build one million homes over this Parliament. However, last year the cross-party Levelling Up Committee found that the government was not on target to deliver 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.

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