UK (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Today, new legislation has taken effect with the aim of expediting the planning process, ensuring developer accountability, reducing administrative red tape, and promoting local authorities to create housing development plans. These measures are now officially law following the Royal Assent granted to the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill.
The government remains on course to fulfill its pledge to provide one million homes during this parliamentary term. Earlier this year, the Housing Secretary outlined a comprehensive strategy for housing, emphasizing the importance of constructing homes in appropriate locations.
The Levelling-Up and Regeneration Act serves as the cornerstone of this enduring strategy, ensuring that new developments prioritize aesthetics, bolster local infrastructure with essential facilities like GP surgeries, schools, and transportation connections, incorporate the democratic input of local residents, improve the environment, and foster communities that are attractive for both living and working.
Expanding housing in regions with the greatest demand is a pivotal aspect of the levelling-up agenda, and this Act will also implement additional measures to promote revitalization in marginalized communities. Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, expressed:
“Our landmark Levelling-Up and Regeneration Act will deliver more homes for communities across the country and unleash levelling up in left-behind places. “It will deliver revitalized high streets and town centres. A faster and less bureaucratic planning system with developers held to account. More beautiful homes built alongside GP surgeries, schools and transport links, and environmental enhancement.
Communities taking back control of their future with new powers to shape their local area. And our long-term levelling up missions enshrined in law. “This Act delivers on the people’s priorities, creating new jobs, new opportunities and a brighter future for the UK.”
Rejuvenating Town Centers
This Act introduces novel legislation aimed at rejuvenating our town centers. It empowers local councils to collaborate directly with landlords, enabling the repurposing of vacant buildings for use by local businesses and community organizations, thereby revitalizing deserted high streets.
Furthermore, the Act solidifies the permanence of relaxed regulations on outdoor seating for cafes, pubs, and restaurants, a measure introduced temporarily during the pandemic. This change is designed to support the continued success of local hospitality businesses.
In addition, the Act underscores our commitment to addressing inequality through levelling-up initiatives, including bolstering devolution efforts to ensure that all areas in England seeking a devolution deal can obtain one by 2030.
To date, the government has allocated £12.9 billion in funding for various levelling-up initiatives throughout the United Kingdom. This investment has been instrumental in generating employment opportunities, enhancing transportation infrastructure, and safeguarding community spaces.
The provisions within the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Act are designed to bolster communities and empower local authorities in their efforts to revitalize their respective regions, aligning with the government’s financial commitments to regenerate underprivileged areas.
The Measures in The Levelling-Up and Regeneration Act
Put local people at the heart of development:
- Simplify the process for implementing local plans.
- Require design codes specifying the location and appearance of homes.
- Focus on community-friendly housing solutions.
Boost local services:
- Mandate developers to provide essential infrastructure.
- Eliminate isolated, suburban developments lacking community amenities.
- Ensure developers contribute to schools, medical facilities, and public services
These measures aim to enhance community involvement and promote the delivery of essential services in local development projects. Last year, the Labour party made an announcement regarding its intention to increase the surcharge paid by foreign individuals from 2 percent to 3 percent, which is expected to generate an additional £25 million annually.
Following Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s recent decision to cancel the northern segment of the HS2 high-speed rail project, which is the UK’s largest infrastructure initiative, Rachel Reeves will unveil a series of reforms at the Labour conference in Liverpool. These reforms are aimed at facilitating ambitious construction projects in the future.
To expedite the implementation of building projects within priority growth sectors, such as battery factories, laboratories, and 5G infrastructure, and to provide incentives for local communities that might be impacted, a “fast-tracking” approach will be employed.
In order to address opposition to critical national projects like wind turbines and pylons, Rachel Reeves will emphasize that residents living near these infrastructures will experience tangible benefits, potentially including reduced energy expenses.