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Real Estate Business

George Osborne and his fight against nimbys


The demand of houses in London is higher than the current supply and George Osborne, member of the Conservative party, declared war to the planning law that is limiting to build new households.

Londoners are now facing several restrictions in planning the development of new houses, but the British government is moving the first steps towards an emancipation of the market, announcing diverse measures, including restricting tax reliefs for buy-to-let landlords, reforming the current rules surrounding non-domicile status and raising the threshold for inheritance tax on primary residences. The Conservative Party remarked the importance of reforms of the real estate market also during the election campaign, when David Cameron rejected arbitrary national housebuilding targets and claimed the actions taken during the previous mandate meant the Great Britain is in course to deliver more than 200,000 new homes by 2017. Osborne claimed that if the target is met, the  UK economy will be £35bn larger in 2030 (approximately £1,100 extra for every household).

 The First Secretary of State is moving a step forward, willing to permit to increase housing density to another level and reducing the need to wait for approval by local authorities before starting new housing projects. During the speech for the presentation of the summer budget, George Osborne claimed that he wants London residents to be allowed to build extra storeys on to their properties without needing local council planning approval and this is not the only regulation due to invest the market.

A new plan introduced by Osborne is meant to revolutionise the market and the main points of the project include:

  • A new zonal system that will allow to build on suitable sites with automatic planning permissions, avoiding the delays of the bureaucratic machine.
  •  When local authorities fail in producing local projects to meet the increasing demand of houses, the Government will have the power to intervene, elaborating new plans on their behalf and imposing penalties for those that make 50% or fewer planning decisions on time.
  • Devolution of planning powers, including powers over land, to the mayors of London and Manchester.
  • Infrastructure projects that are relevant for the public will be developed through the Nationally Significant Infrastructure regime to guarantee a quicker start. This also means that the plans will not be needed to be approved by a democratic consultation.
  • A set of measure will support small and medium-sized house-builders, including sanctions on local authorities delaying or failing to process small planning applications with earlier fee refunds.
  • A proposal to allow residents to  build upwards extensions for a limited number of storeys up to the height of the adjoining building in the capital, without the need to wait for the concession of planning permission.

The new plan signed by Osborne may remodel the house developing machine, but is facing the opposition of the Tory and, according to a survey sponsored by the Development Intelligence, also UK residents are showing their uncertainties towards the plan. People living in south-west England, West Midlands and Scotland appear most resistant to development while Wales and the north-east are least opposed. And 90% of the suburban public surveyed were classed as “nimbys” (an acronym for the phrase “Not In My Back Yard that are traditionally adverse to any proposal for a new development because it is close to them), compared with 88% in the countryside and 83% in urban areas.

Osborne’s plan will have to meet the resistance of the “nimbys”, but these measures may be what the UK needs to stem the necessity to create new household, helping younger British people in finding a house for their own.




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