Autumn statement: Osborne reiterates National Infrastructure Plan planning and housing promises and commits to development of small sites

Out-Law News | 04 Dec 2014 | 5:11 pm | 1 min. read

Chancellor George Osborne delivered his 2014 Autumn Statement yesterday, reiterating promises from the UK government's National Infrastructure Plan 2014 and committing to support the approval of small sites for development.

The government's National Infrastructure Plan 2014 (140-page / 4.4 MB PDF) (NIP) was published earlier this week by the Treasury. The document set out the government's plans for infrastructure development in the UK "for the next Parliament and beyond" and included several commitments aimed at boosting the supply of housing in the country.

The Autumn Statement reiterated promises made in the NIP including government commitments to support development at Northstowe, Brent Cross, Barking Riverside and several London housing estates; to streamline the compulsory purchase regime; to consider making changes to the section 106 agreement process; and to increase the threshold below local authorities are deemed to be deciding major development applications too slowly.

Osborne also repeated commitments made by the government earlier this week to release enough public land by 2020 for the construction of 150,000 new homes; to support the Oxfordshire town of Bicester with proposals to build 13,000 new homes; and to invest £141 million to support the redevelopment of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London into a higher education and cultural quarter.

Also included in the Autumn Statement were new government commitments to support the bringing forward of small development sites. Osborne said the government would "work ... with industry and local authorities to test whether more can be done to support the approval of small sites in the planning system". The chancellor also said that the government would be "publishing new data on local authorities' performance in meeting their statutory duty to process smaller planning applications within eight weeks".

The chancellor confirmed that the government would invest £1 billion from the Local Growth Fund to fund a second round of local Growth Deals with local enterprise partnerships across the country. He also announced plans to support the extension of the Nottingham Enterprise Zone to a site in Derby and to discuss plans for a Growth Zone in the London borough of Croydon.

Croydon Council said in a statement that, prior to Osborne's statement it had been "lobbying hard for the devolution of powers to control local tax revenues which would accelerate major regeneration projects in the borough". It estimated that allocation as a Growth Zone would allow it to use locally generated taxes to "bring forward the delivering of a £5.25bn regeneration programme, including 23,500 new jobs and 8,000 homes in the town centre by 2031".