Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “This year’s Budget shows how house building is central to our long-term economic plan, with measures to get Britain building and support to help hard-working people realise their dream of home ownership.” “Today’s multi-billion package will boost house building, particularly on brownfield land, create new jobs and allow up to an additional 120,000 aspiring homeowners to buy a home.”
Extracts from the Budget 2014
To support SME access to finance, the government will create a £500 million Builders Finance Fund, which will provide loans to developers to unlock 15,000 housing units stalled due to difficulty in accessing finance.
For people who want to build their own home, the government will consult on creating a new ‘Right to Build’, giving custom builders a right to a plot from councils, and a £150 million repayable fund to help provide up to 10,000 serviced plots for custom build.
The government will also look to make the Help to Buy: equity loan scheme available for custom build.
The government will establish a £150 million fund to kick start the regeneration of large housing estates through repayable loans, helping to boost housing supply. Bids will shortly be invited from private sector developers, working with local authorities on estates that might be able to benefit. Following the Autumn Statement, expressions of interest have already been made through the Greater London Authority relating to the Aylesbury Estate, Blackwall Reach and Grahame Park regeneration projects in London.New Garden City
The government will support a new Garden City at Ebbsfleet. Ebbsfleet has capacity for up to 15,000 new homes, based on existing brownfield land. To date, under 150 homes have been built on the largest site.
The government will form a dedicated Urban Development Corporation for the area, in consultation with local MPs, councils and residents, to drive forward the creation of Ebbsfleet Garden City, and will make up to £200 million of infrastructure funding available to kick start development. This will represent the first new garden city since Welwyn Garden City in 1920.
The government will also publish a prospectus by Easter 2014, setting out how local authorities could develop their own, locally-led proposals for bringing forward new garden cities.Reform of the planning system
The government has taken decisive steps to improve and streamline the planning system. To support businesses and households further, the government will review the General Permitted Development Order. The refreshed approach is based on a three-tier system to decide the appropriate level of permission, using permitted development rights for small-scale changes, prior approval rights for development requiring consideration of specific issues, and planning permission for the largest scale development.
As part of this, the government will consult on specific change of use measures, including greater flexibilities for change to residential use, for example from warehouses and light industry structures, and allowing businesses greater flexibilities to expand facilities such as car parks and loading bays within existing boundaries, where there is little impact on local communities.
The Budget also pledged £140m for flood defences, £270m for a new Mersey Gateway bridge and £100m for Greater Cambridge transport and infrastructure projects as well as a statement that the Welsh Government can use existing borrowing powers to begin investing in improvements to the M4.