An influential group of housing associations have written to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond. They urge him to allow properties to be extended in height, matching the tallest tree or building in the area – without seeking planning approval.
The group of housing associations, Placeshapers, Orbit, G15, Place for People and Midland Heart wrote in a letter to the Chancellor: “We believe that, ‘build up not out’ has the potential to substantially increase the supply of sites for development.
“We have the financial strength, the capability, and the networks of local suppliers to be able to build greatly increased numbers of homes. Housing associations have an ambition to deliver.”
The ‘build up not out’ plan
Tory MP John Penrose backs the ‘build up not out’ plan, initially submitting the policy to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid’s housing white paper published in February.
MP’s are pushing the ‘build up not out’ plan to help solve the housing crisis. The aim is to build mansion blocks and avoid building on green belt land. Several former ministers and David Cameron’s ex policy chief back this plan.
The proposal to extend property heights without planning permission is welcomed by Think Tank, the Adam Smith Institute. Their Executive Director, Sam Bowman said: “This would be a bottom-up way of making housing more affordable, allowing market forces to incentivise development in the places that people want to live most.” However, he suggests the Government still consider building outwards, by reclassifying green belt land – mainly in areas around train stations.
Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, said: “If we’re going to deliver the housing numbers we so badly need, it’s critical we find bold new ideas to increase supply.
“‘Build up not out’ is a good example of an initiative which should encourage local authorities to think creatively about solutions in their area.”
Supported by the property industry, Sajid Javid has suggested ‘borrow to build’, taking advantage of low interest rates to borrow billions. This would fund infrastructure projects, unlocking land to build houses on.
However, the Chancellor said it would be irresponsible for the Treasury to borrow more money. A Treasury spokesperson said: “The chancellor is looking at a wide range of options ahead of the Budget, but anything more than that is pure speculation.”