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01 May
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What UKIP and the Green Party's Manifestos Say About Planning, Development and Housing

In an earlier blog, we looked at what the Conservatives and Labour manifestos had to say about planning. But as the era of two-party politics comes to an end in the UK, it's only fair that we examine the views of some of the 'fringe' parties that have been causing a stir in the run-up to the general election.

UKIP - Green Manifestos Housing Planning Development

If you'd like to share or embed our infographic on your site, feel free to use the code at the bottom of this post.

While the above infographic summarises some of the key points of the two parties, we've also delved deep into their manifestos to get the full picture.

What UKIP has to say about planning, housing and development 

On April 15th, Nigel Farage launched his party's manifesto, which contains a somewhat surprising amount of policy pledges in regard to planning, housing and development in Britain. 

The cover page to UKIP's ‘Housing and the Environment' chapter of its manifesto quotes Andrew Charalambous, the Party’s Housing and Environment Spokesman, who comments: 

“UKIP is the only party to recognise that a house needs to be built every seven minutes to meet demand. The housing shortage is leading to higher rents, less stable tenancies, and rising homelessness. This is completely unsustainable.” 

The document went on to set out how UKIP would tackle some of the most pressing planning-related issues facing in the UK, with some of the most significant pledges including: 

Housing 

-          Build 500 affordable rent homes every year and eight halfway houses for homeless veterans. The halfway houses will each have 200 rooms 

-          Introduce policies to incentivise the creation of more affordable housing, while protecting rural communities and preserving the countryside 

-          A statutory duty to be placed on local authorities to:

  • Include a commitment to bringing empty properties back into use within their broader housing and planning strategies
  • Charge those whose homes are empty for more than two years 50 per cent more than the applicable council tax, with exceptions for owners who are in HM Armed Forces 

-          Remove the barriers to brownfield builds with the aim of building one million homes on brownfield sites by 2025 to address the current housing shortage. This will include requiring the Environment Agency to compile a National Brownfield Sites Register where appropriate and offer the following financial incentives to encourage developers to build on brownfield sites:

  • Grants of up to £10,000 per unit will be available to developers to carry out essential remediation work
  • Properties built on registered brownfield sites will be exempt from stamp duty on first sale, up to the £250,00 threshold
  • A grant to cover the most of indemnity insurance will also be available to developers of decontaminated land 

-          To further incentivise brownfield development, local authorities will be allowed to keep the New Homes Bonus beyond six years on brownfield sites.

-          Increase the supply of affordable homes by:

  • Identifying long-tern dormant land held by central and local government so it can be released for affordable developments
  • Relax planning regulations for the conversion of off-high road commercial and office space and other existing buildings to affordable residential use. 

-          Encourage moves by local authorities to prioritise people with strong local connections when making housing allocations 

-          Relieve pressure on social housing waiting lists by preventing foreign nationals from obtaining access to social housing until they have lived in Britain and paid UK Tax and National Insurance for a minimum of five years 

-          UKIP will plough 100 per cent of all revenue from Right to Buy sales, after essential costs have been paid back, into new community housing 

-          Not allow non-British nationals access to the Right to Buy or Help to Buy schemes unless they have served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces 

-          UKIP will not allow new housing to strip our nation of prime agricultural land or allow the countryside to be swamped by over-development 

-          Replace the National Planning Policy Framework and introduce fresh national planning guidelines that will prioritise brownfield sites for new housing and genuinely protect the green belt 

-          Free local authorities from government-imposed minimum housing numbers 

-          Reverse current policies of facilitating large-scale rural residential developments 

-          Promote smaller 6-12 unit developments in rural areas to extend existing villages

-          Encourage local authorities to require a proportion of self-build plots to be provided in all large developments 

-          Introducing a ‘presumption in favour of  conservation’ as opposed to the current ‘presumption in favour of development’ in planning legislation 

-          Access low-interest government loans to buy up and renovate poor housing stock and convert empty commercial properties into residential accommodation 

-          Issue Compulsory Purchase Order powers for poor-quality multi-occupancy accommodation 

-          Allow local authorities to introduce minimum standards for properties in receipt of housing benefit 

-          Restructure local housing markets so they are not excessively driven by profits from housing benefit income 

-          Refuse housing benefit payments to landlords in breach of planning legislation 

Development 

-          Allow large-scale developments to be overturned by a binding local referendum triggered by the signatures of five per cent of electors within a planning authority area, collected within three months 

-          Scrap HS2 

-          Reopen Manston Airport to address the lack of airport capacity in the south-east 

-          Match-fund grants made by local authorities towards rural capital projects, such as creating a lake, wetland, repairing traditional stone walls, et cetera, which enhance the local environment, encourage rural education, or help recover from environmental disasters 

-          Ensuring tax and planning policies support historic buildings and countryside 

-          Removing VAT completely from repairs to listed buildings 

Planning 

-          Reduce the cost and bureaucracy of planning applications by merging Planning and Building Control departments in local authorities 

-          Boost the Coastal Communities Fund 

-          Prioritise larger-scale heritage, residential, retail and tourist regeneration over smaller scale projects 

-          Oppose excessive development and actively seek to protect our countryside and green spaces 

-          Give local people control over planning, by giving them the final say on major planning decisions, such as out-of-town large-scale supermarket developments, wind turbines, incinerators, solar farms and major housing developments, through the use of binding local referenda 

Green Party Manifesto

Titled ‘For the Common Good” - the Green Party launched their manifesto on Tuesday 14th April. The key pledges from their manifesto, which relate to planning, development and other crucial topics of industry interest include: 

Housing 

-          Provide 500,000 social homes for rent over the five- year Parliament, control excessive rents and achieve house price stability 

-          Provide a free nationwide retrofit insulation programme, concentrating on areas where fuel poverty is most serious. This is designed to insulate nine million in total and take at least two million homes out of fuel poverty, aiming for the Passivhaus ultra low-energy refurbishment standard by 2020. 

It will offer up to £5,000 worth of free insulation, or other energy improvements such as solar photovoltaics (PV) if the insulation is already up to the standard, to every home in designated areas. To reach Passivhaus standards, there will be the option of up to a further £15,000 in in subsidised loans from the Green Infrastructure Bank for each dwelling including future improvements. This programme will invest £45billion over the course of the Parliament (including investment in training and awareness), be delivered by local authorities and create well over 100,000 jobs. It will become part of a new Green National Infrastructure programme. 

-          Give tenants the right to require landlords to achieve the same improvement to the energy performance of their home, and require all private rented sector housing to meet Energy Performance C by 2025 

-          Require all new homes to be built to the Passivhaus standard 

-          Support this investment in insulating and building to Passivhaus standards with investment in training for the design and building industries, by creating a national college for training in energy home improvement, and building relationships with a network of affiliated facilities, including existing colleges and private training providers 

-          Recognise fully the housing needs of people who are disabled, including support with planning and obtaining housing 

-          Provide 500,000 social rent homes to high sustainability standards by increasing the social housing budget from £1.5 billion a year to £6 billion in the lifetime of the Parliament, removing borrowing caps from local councils and creating 35,000 jobs 

-          Devolved Housing Benefit budgets to councils, so they can design packages that improve access to housing in their local market and enable them to provide more council housing 

-          End mass council house sales and the Right to Buy at a discounted price 

-          Change the definition of affordable rented housing to depend on local median incomes and not on local market rents 

Environment 

-          Produce a strategy for capturing carbon and reducing greenhouse gases through improved land management, for example by encouraging and preserving peatlands 

-          Protect, expand, properly fund and improve non-car access to National Parks

-          Having the government act as an insurer of last resort where commercial insurance companies are refusing to provide flood cover 

-          Encouraging storing water in uplands through full river system management – including wetland restoration, natural regeneration, allowing rivers to meander and allowing flooding upstream. Water management needs to become part of the rules for farming subsidies 

-          Require local authorities to set out a local carbon plan to show how their area will meet overall greenhouse gas reduction targets 

Development 

-          Promote landscape-scale conservation, using reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, improved agri-environment schemes and the planning system 

-          To invest an £85 billion public programme of renewable electricity generation, flood defences and building insulation 

-          Provide £4.5 billion over the Parliament to support research and development into less energy-intensive industrial processes 

-          Ensure that all schools, hospitals and other public buildings have solar panels by 2020 

-          Providing help for people and communities to prepare for an increasingly variable climate. We would give an extra £1 billion a year to local authorities and the Environment Agency to spend on assisting communities with flood protection and on defending homes and public buildings such as hospitals from heatwaves 

-          Preventing new building on flood plains 

-          Not start any new private finance initiative projects and set local authorities free to borrow to fund local capital investment social housing, electricity generation and distribution, and local public transport 

Planning 

-          Repeal the National Planning Policy Framework and in particular its presumption in favour of development, and put planning back in the hands of local people and government, while requiring local authorities to map local ecological networks and work collaboratively to develop national spatial plans 

-          Prohibit developers from being allowed to destroy unique habitats by way of biodiversity offsetting elsewhere 

-          Obliging government departments and local authorities to consider climate change and carbon reduction in all their planning over a long time horizon of 50-100 years. Specifically, local authorities should do so in all planning decisions 

-          Put planning back in the hands of local government by: 

  • Repealing the National Planning Policy Framework and in particular its presumption in favour of economic development
  • Restricting the ability of the Secretary of State to call in planning applications
  • Restricting the right of applicants to appeal only where there has been an error in the planning process
  • Strengthening local authorities’ powers to prevent changes of use for important community facilities such as local pubs and meeting halls’
  • Giving local authorities planning powers to support local shops and business through planning policies including conservation areas, ensuring basic shops are available within walking distance in all urban areas, restricting the number of payday lenders and restricting the power of supermarkets
  • Introducing a community right of appeal where a development is non-compliant with a neighbourhood plan or local plan 

-          Support preservation of the historic environment, in part by being flexible about how older buildings reduce their energy use 

Infrastructure 

-          Green Party transport policy prioritises in this order, building from the bottom up:

  • Walking and disabled access to all other forms of transport
  • Cycling
  • Public transport (trains, light rail/trams, buses and ferries) and rail- and water-borne freight (the Green Party would scrap HS2)
  • Light goods vehicles, taxis and low-powered motor cycles
  • Private motorised transport (cars and high-powered motor cycles)
  • Heavy goods vehicles and
  • Aircraft 

-          End the wasteful and destructive national major roads programme, saving £15 billion over the Parliament 

-          Spend part of this £15 billion on improving and subsidising public transport, with an average fare reduction of 10% costing £8 billion over the Parliament, fixing potholes in existing roads and investing in walking and cycling

-          Stop airport expansion, in particular no new runways at either Heathrow or Gatwick, and ban night flying 

-          Invest in electric vehicle charging points for buses and taxis, and for cars where gaps in the network of public and community transport 

-          Prioritise affordable local public transport, accessible to all, including those with disabilities 

-          Develop regional smart payment systems with integrated ticketing, like the London Oyster system 

-          Extend networks of public transport to include rural areas 

-          Make streets healthy and safe places for people to cycle and walk and for children to play, while building physical activity into their daily journeys 

-          Help schools and work places to support active travel to and from work, and encourage local authorities to assist this by linking their public health and transport functions 

-          Ensure that all planning decisions have to take into account the active travel and public transport implications 

-          Introduce road-pricing schemes such as the London congestion charge 

-          Reduce the need for car parking spaces by reducing car dependency and transferring trips, where appropriate, to walking, cycling and public transport. Car parking is expensive to provide, can obstruct pedestrians and people with disabilities if it takes place on pavements, and takes up valuable road space that could be reallocated to pedestrians and cyclists 

-          Reduce parking spaces in new developments and increase rates of walking, cycling and public transport by strengthening planning law to make best practice travel plans mandatory for workplaces, homes and other destinations 

-          Ensure that parking policies in residential areas deliver a high-quality street environment and reduce the numbers of those who are clogging up residential streets as part of a commuter trip or other activities not related to a visit to an address in that street 

-          Provide cycle parking throughout towns and cities at locations where there is demand and invest in on-street secure cycle storage in residential streets 

-          Make sure the rural areas are not neglected when transport budgets and planning for our cities and city regions are in discussion 

-          Develop networks of community and public transport to provide regular links to onward transport networks 

-          Prioritise public over private transport, electrification of the transport system and access over mobility 

-          Allow local authorities to run local public transport and other local services such as domestic and commercial waste disposal, community energy schemes and local food production entirely as they wish, including using publicly owned and run services and employing social enterprise and voluntary sector organisations 

-          Introduce speed limits of 20 mph in villages and 40 mph on rural roads. 

And You? 

The raft of policies above certainly provides some food for thought, so if you've got any views you'd like to share – be sure to leave us a comment below or shoot us a tweet – we always love to hear from you. 

And if you've got any concerns about how the result of the General Election might affect your development plans, be sure to get in touch today.

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