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Government brings BIDEN to Levelling Up Bill

Measures to deliver new homes, regenerate left-behind communities and clean up rivers have been added to the Government’s flagship Levelling Up Bill.

The amendments were presented in the House of Commons today.

The new measures will follow the Government’s BIDEN principles, which aim to ensure new developments are beautiful, have the right infrastructure, are democratically supported by local communities, enhanced the environment and create better neighbourhoods.


Housing Minister Lucy Frazer said: “Levelling Up means creating vibrant and beautiful communities where local people and businesses can thrive. 

“The measures we are setting out today will put protecting the environment at the heart of our plans, while bringing forward much needed new homes across the country. 

“We will make sure that new development is surrounded by the right infrastructure and that local people are given an opportunity to shape their neighbourhood.” 

The Government said amendments being tabled will:

  • Tackle slow build out by developers to make sure much needed new homes are delivered. Developers will have to report annually to councils on their progress and councils will have new powers to block planning proposals from builders who have failed to deliver on the same land.

  • Improve our environment and enshrine in law an obligation on water companies to clean up our rivers by upgrading wastewater treatment works. Considering all catchments covered by the amendment, our initial estimates indicate that there will be around a 75% reduction in phosphorus loads and around a 55% reduction in nitrogen loads in total from wastewater treatment works, although this will vary between individual catchments. These upgrades will enable housebuilding to be unlocked by reducing the amount of mitigation developers must provide to offset nutrient pollution. This will be accompanied by a Nutrient Mitigation Scheme that will make it easier for developers to discharge their mitigation obligations. 

  • Give residents a new tool to propose additional development on their street, like extensions to existing homes, through ‘street votes’. Planning permission will only be granted when an independent examiner is satisfied that certain requirements, such as on design, have been met and the proposal is endorsed at a referendum by the immediate community. Pilot Community Land Auctions – testing a new way of capturing value from land when it is allocated for development in the local plan to provide vital infrastructure, including schools, roads, GP surgeries, and the affordable housing that communities need. 

  • Enhancing powers for mayors to support them to managing their key route networks and increase transport connectivity across their area.

  • Help Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects such as wind farms and new major transport links be delivered more quickly, by enabling a small number of public bodies to charge for their statutory services to help them provide a better, reliable, quality of advice to developers and support faster planning decisions.

  • Algarve  Investor

    When I first read the headline, I though the US President must have better things to do than get involved in the Levelling Up Bill :)

  • Richard Copus

    When I first see a "beautiful" new development I'll be watching the pigs flying by at the same time!

  • Proper Estate Agent

    What a load of old tosh. Beautiful homes COST, it all costs, who's going to pay? middle England of course, if they haven't left the country / sinking ship.

  • John Ahmed

    I can see issues with this already.

  • icon

    Honest I will read and digest when I'm out of hospital after splitting my sides laughing

    "Housing Minister Lucy Frazer said: “Levelling Up means creating vibrant and beautiful communities where local people and businesses can thrive."

  • David Clark

    Why would developers build slowly? Only get their hands on the cash when they hand over a completed house so in a vibrant market they want to push sales/prices. When government puts the boot in and uses interest rates to slow things down ( "tackle inflation" ) then they'll slow down build to match sales. Why should a local authority have any say in the process of a commercial enterprise that they have zero expertise in? Look at the state of local authority development companies who couldn't make money in a boom market!

  • icon

    So the Government is to "Give residents a new tool to propose additional development on their street" which also gives residents the right to block developments. The NIMBYs will stop everything.

    The Government will also "Help Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects such as wind farms" - Sunak has stated he is against wind farms as are the majority of the cabinet. So that's another load of tosh!

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    To get 300K properties built every year, stage one - get the local planning in place which allows this, at present there is almost no-one at a local level working in these departments, with no activity here - the fantasy words of Disco Gove ring very hollow.

    And phrases like 'street voices' sounds a lot like Nimbyism, which is hardly going to help get those houses built.

    Given the retrograde housing market, supply chain problems and mounting cost of new builds, plus the cautious approach of the big developers who are more likely to follow a 'land banking' approach than a build them approach, especially with FTB's looking at a 5.6% two year fixed - I think maybe the housing secretary would be better off sorting out some easier goals.

    Goals like regulating the housing associations - doing an immediate audit of that stock, removing humans from properties not fit for purpose and removing some CEO's who clearly are being paid to run very badly run operations.

    For sure lessons are being learnt, the typical mantra that will come out when Grenfell actually gets to its conclusion probably a few months prior to the next election, but it does not help those who daily live in Dickensian housing stock.

    Rant over - and the reason - well in five years time someone will be writing the same things, a fundamental change in the housing sector will come about - not through legislation, but through pressure from the people who are being so badly served, and that day is decades off.

    Until then successive governments will fumble the housing ball, just as they do with education, health welfare etc, throwing money at a problem without joined up thinking always results in a bigger mess.


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