Brownfield planning policy must promote quality homes

Propertymark is encouraging the UK Government to explore all viable methods of increasing the delivery of homes, however, the approach must not lose sight of the importance of creating decent homes that people want to buy in the places they want to live. In our consultation response to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) we suggest improvements to their proposals that will help avoid unintended consequences.

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One part of the solution

Brownfield development is only one of many ways that new houses can be brought to the market. Previously developed urban sites are often small, delivering only a few hundred homes, and whilst these are welcome, over the last decade over 1.1 million homes have received planning permission but have not yet been built. We strongly encourage DLUHC not to neglect other solutions to the current undersupply crisis.

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13 Feb 2024
Shake up of planning rules prioritises brownfield developments

Infrastructure first

Any new focus on building homes must ensure that facilities and services for new and existing residents are planned from the outset. Failure to adequately consider transport links, schools, doctors’ surgeries, and other community assets leads to delay and rejection of new developments.

When assessing planning applications, local authorities (LAs) should establish that infrastructure and amenities must be built first, providing added value to existing residents and making the new homes attractive to buyers once completed.

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19 Dec 2023
Faster planning processes must prioritise infrastructure

Flexibility to meet local needs

Whilst our ultimate concern is with the availability of homes to buy and rent, we believe that the UK Government should take care not to excessively prioritise the number of homes above all other factors.

A strict focus on numbers could result in poor-quality buildings or disincentivise developers to include the green spaces, community buildings and infrastructure that make a place desirable for people to live in.

To mitigate this risk, we recommend local planning authorities are encouraged to take a holistic view of developments across their area and pay attention to the number of homes completed per year, and their affordability, rather than overall, longer-term numbers.

Do not sacrifice quality

We are concerned by proposals to allow flexibility in planning guidance relating to daylight and the internal layout of properties.

These guidelines exist to make sure that homes are comfortable and pleasant to live in, and any drop in these standards risks creating low-quality properties that people do not want to buy.

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20 Mar 2024
New homes to boost progress to net zero

Incentivise the right development

It is right that LAs should be encouraged to meet housing delivery targets and that there should be consequences for those who fail in this duty. However, it’s vital to avoid incentivising sub-standard developments with overly rigid rules.

If an LA can evidence that proposed developments did not meet quality or environmental standards this should be considered when assessing their performance against targets.  

Download the full consultation response