On office to residential changes, Churchill’s Chairman, Spencer McCarthy, said:
“Delivering one million homes by 2020 is a bold ambition – we know government is serious about boosting housing supply, but we want to be sure this new supply will be the right kind of properties, and for all ages, not just first-time buyer and starter homes.
“The introduction of Office to Residential planning development rights was an innovative step, and we’re delighted this change has been made permanent.
“New provisions to allow the demolition of offices and replacement with new residential buildings is a similarly interesting measure – particularly for the way we build, often on sites like this. We hope this kind of forward thinking will continue, to allow developers to provide housing on underused sites. As a housebuilder who builds 100% of our developments on brownfield land, we’ve seen too many sites locked up for too long, and we hope these changes will get disused land back into use, for much needed homes.
“As always, the devil is in the detail, and we’ll need to see more, particularly on development rights to allow the change of use of light industrial buildings and the rather odd measure focussing on laundrettes into residential.”
On figures that 65% of local councils have fully adopted local plans, and there are still almost 20% of councils that do not have an up to date plan at all:
“Reforming the planning system is crucial if these targets are to be achieved but if government want to get more homes built, we have to see genuine will from local planning authorities to make this happen.
“Having plans in place to take back power is all very well, but we also need to see more resource given over to the Planning Inspectorate to ensure the system can pick up speed to meet its targets.”