Tag Archives: Kit Malthouse

Why building modular homes is Housing Minister’s NY resolution

By Daniel Fryd, Senior Consultant

Whatever your new year’s resolutions are, they are probably not as ambitious as Kit Malthouse’s.

The Housing Minister, who will have served five months in the role next week, shared a New Year’s Day message on social media saying his number one new year’s resolution for 2019 is to innovate Britain’s housebuilding industry so it focuses on using modern methods of construction and new technology.

Branding the current system of house building ‘old fashioned’, Malthouse said getting the UK housebuilding industry to adopt more modern methods of construction is vital for driving up housing delivery to meet the 300,000 homes a year target the government has adopted.

In a clear statement of intent to integrate Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) more widely, Malthouse said 2019 would see him putting serious pressure on “every part” of the housebuilding industry to modernise and use new technology to deliver more homes and build on the 222,000- homes delivered in 2018

Very Modern Methods   

Malthouse and Communities Secretary James Brokenshire have been eager to put funding towards growing modern methods of construction (MMC) and spoke on a number of occasions throughout 2018 on how Britain can become a pioneer of MMC.

In July, Brokenshire released a £450m fund through the Accelerated Construction programme to speed up delivery of homes on surplus public sector land through the use of Modern Methods of Construction and SME builders.

Just last week Homes England released a further £120,000 to Nuneaten and Bedford council for a pilot scheme to build four modular semi-detached homes. Earlier in the month Homes England put their money where their mouth is and appointed MacAvoy to construct their new South East office through off-site construction.

There is still a long way to go before MMC is fully integrated and adopted across the board however, as the House of Lords report ‘Offsite Manufacture for Construction: Building for Change’ highlighted.

In the report, Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee Lord Patel said the construction sector is working with fragmented, “outdated and unsustainable business models” not conducive to offsite manufacture, and that there is a need to “build more trust and create partnerships” in the construction industry to boost off-site manufacturing.

Fragmentation and distrust in the construction industry will not disappear overnight, but direction from the Construction Leadership Council to involve designers, contractors and suppliers early in the off-site manufacturing process will be a start.

Further MHCLG policies to implement the Budget 2017 commitment for the “presumption in favour of offsite manufacture” by 2019 for government departments will be a big help as well in showing government’s commitment.


Ahead of the 2017 general election, the Conservative Party promised to deliver 1.5 million new homes by 2022. More recently, Brokenshire and Malthouse have said they want to see Britain delivering 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

There are clearly significant benefits to the lower costs, faster delivery and standardisation that modular homes bring in helping to meet this target. Integrating MMC into as many new developments as possible will help the public see the quality of the homes and to see how they are far from ‘pre-fab’ shacks.

While Modular Homes are certainly part of achieving the target, it is clear they aren’t going to solve the country’s housing woes by themselves. Around 60% of new homes delivered in the country are built by just 10 housebuilders.

It will take a serious amount of investment in new factories to achieve the economies of scale and produce the volume of new homes needed to encourage the major players to adopt MMC more widely.

Wider government investment, MMC initiatives and a presumption in favour of using modular homes on new Government buildings is a good starting point. Let’s just hope that unlike most new year’s resolutions, Malthouse’s lasts past January 12th.

planning news

Planning Ahead – Planning news, views and insight – November 2018

This month: Letwin on land banking, Malthouse ignores ONS stats, upwards extensions, HRA borrowing cap and TCPA’s tips on affordable housing

  • Malthouse calls for “more, better, faster” as Gov ignore latest population stats
    Government will not change  housing targets despite official statistics predicting lower household growth than previously thought, it was confirmed… Read more
  • Onwards and upwards for extensions?
    The government has launched a fresh consultation on permitted development rights (PDR) for upwards extensions… Read more
  • TCPA proposes 13 steps to deliver truly affordable housing
    The planning system is failing to deliver affordable homes in the country’s poorest areas, a new report claims… Read more
  • Government lifts HRA borrowing cap
    In one of the biggest announcements from this year’s Conservative Party conference, Theresa May presented government’s plans to remove… Read more
  • Letwin Lets Rip in Build Out Review
    Oliver Letwin MP’s new report confirms house builders do not land bank, and sets out a number of measures to speed up housebuilding… Read more
  • Budget 2018 Special
    Hammond’s highly-anticipated pre-Brexit budget was slightly underwhelming from a housing and planning perspective. However, he did admit… Read more

Local Plan updates
Chelgate Local brings you Local Plan updates for Aylesbury Vale, Basildon, Brentwood, Central Beds, Chelmsford, Chiltern and South Bucks, Dacorum, East Herts, Epping, Epsom and Ewell, Harlow, Medway, Milton Keynes, Mole Valley and many more…

Chelgate Local invites you to our Breakfast Briefing on the Role of County Councils
We welcome you to attend our breakfast briefing on the shifting role of county councils in planning, with a focus on Hertfordshire.

We will hear from local politicians, housing associations and developers on how county councils are playing a far greater role in the planning of infrastructure and larger developments.

Come along on 7th December, 8-10am in St Albans. Email vshirley@chelgate.com to reserve your spot, places are limited!

TCPA proposes 13 steps to deliver truly affordable housing

By Daniel Fryd, Senior Consultant

Despite positive moves to get councils building, the planning system is failing to deliver affordable homes in the country’s poorest areas, a new TCPA report suggests.

The responsibility for building affordable homes is now firmly in councils’ courts following the Prime Minister’s move to lift the Housing Revenue account borrowing cap. Make no mistake – scrapping the borrowing cap is a huge move which means councils finally have the freedom they have been crying out for to significantly boost affordable housing supply.

According to a new research paper from the TCPA, however, the scale of the housing crisis is so severe that despite the new freedom for councils to build, the planning system will continue to fill the gap through requiring developers to build affordable housing within new developments.

With a woeful 2% of councils achieving their full affordable housing target through the planning system, there is clearly a long way to go and further changes needed before we see a genuine uplift in supply. Getting councils building is only one part of the solution.

Affording “affordable” homes

To unpick the problem with affordable housing you have to take a step back.

Speak to young people looking to get on the housing ladder about ‘affordable housing’ and you face the same questions: what does ‘affordable’ actually mean? Affordable to whom?

The fact the new NPPF now links affordable housing to market rates, especially in high value areas like London, simply means it in is line with the price of other homes which are broadly unaffordable for young people.

The TCPA report ‘Planning for Affordable Housing’, released just weeks before Budget 2018, draws on this as a key theme in the report, suggesting the definition of affordable homes should be amended in the NPPF to be based on a measure of local income instead of being pegged to an arbitrary proportion of market rates.

Linking provision of affordable homes to market rates, rather than local incomes, can lead to a situation where councils cannot set their own rents based on local incomes to ensure they meet local need.

13 steps to build affordable homes

Drawing on this, ‘Planning for Affordable Housing’ puts forward 13 recommendations to improve the planning system to deliver affordable housing, including an overarching recommendation for Government to set a target for the number of new affordable homes the country needs, and a strategy for how to achieve this figure.

Key recommendations include reform of viability assessments to ensure developers build affordable homes after planning approval, reform of land value capture to remove the ‘hope value’ of land and the rescinding of permitted development rights, which delivers no affordable.

None of these proposals are likely to prove popular with developers, however. The viability system is heavily relied on by developers building homes in expensive areas of high demand (i.e. the entire South East), in order to make their investment feasible.

Land value capture reform has proven unpopular in discussions held by the HCLG committee with developers and planners – Ian Fletcher, director of real estate policy at the British Property Federation (BPF), highlighted that “Crudely applied reform… will deter much-needed private sector investment into housing delivery and our town and city centres.”

The Letwin Review

The Letwin Review, published this week at the same time as the Autumn Budget, revealed quite bold plans for councils to compulsorily purchase land at a rate capped at “around ten times existing use value” in order to provide the affordable housing the market requires. This will be an interesting attempt to crack the nut of land value capture in a way which does not drive down land supply.

The removal of the HRA borrowing cap, as well as the announcements in this week’s Budget for an extra £650m for councils, and a further £500m of funding for the Housing Infrastructure Fund, to unlock 650,000 homes, will go some way to meeting the housing deficit.

Further measures and further planning changes are clearly still needed before we see a real uptick in provision, however.

Read more about the latest planning news:

  • Malthouse calls for “more, better, faster” as Gov ignore latest population stats – Read more
  • Onwards and upwards for extensions? – Read more
  • Government lifts HRA borrowing cap – Read more
  • Letwin Lets Rip in Build Out Review – Read more
  • Budget 2018 Special – Read more

Malthouse calls for “more, better, faster” as Gov ignore latest population stats

By Daniel Fryd, Senior Consultant

Government will not change its housing need targets despite official statistics predicting lower household growth than previously thought, it was confirmed last week.

In a consultation report launched at the end of last week, just before the Budget and its slew of other reports was released, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) set out its latest position on the standard methodology for calculating housing need. The 19-page consultation contained some fairly complex minor planning tweaks, but the main message was very clear: “lower household projections do not mean fewer houses need to be built.”

This will come as something of a blow to local authorities who have been dragging their heels on getting a local plan in place. Certain councils have been delaying their local plan agreement to meet the housing targets set out in the revised NPPF, in the hope that Government would revise down its housing target resulting from the new ONS figures.

Flawed figures

Back in July the ONS released 2016 household population statistics which suggested a drop in the projected population by 53,000 a year between 2018 and 2028. Areas such as Cambridge and Greater saw significant reductions.

To use these statistics to base house-building targets would be a mistake, the new MHCLG publication says however, and would only lead to fewer, larger households living in more expensive homes built in the wrong places.

Running until 7 December 2018, the consultation sets out how Government and councils should ignore the new projections and use the 2014 statistics as a basis for calculating housing need instead, resulting in a minimal change to housing targets.

What now?

The consultation proposes three key changes:

  • To set out how “2014-based data will provide the demographic baseline for assessment of local housing need”.
  • To clarify that ” the 2016-based projections do not qualify as an exceptional circumstance that justifies a departure from the standard methodology”.
  • In the longer term, to “review the formula with a view to establishing a new method” by the time the next projections are issued”.

Housing minister Kit Malthouse said: “We must tackle the historic shortage of new homes and restore the dream of ownership for the next generation.

“To do this we must build more and better homes, faster, and are committed to delivering 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s. These proposals maintain this commitment and crucially give stability and certainty for local authorities, so they can get on with the job of building the homes their communities need.”

Once MHCLG have digested the responses to the consultation and produced a final note in the new year, the move should put to bed the suggestion that revised household projection statistics mean lower targets for housebuilding should be introduced. There has been a lot of talk about hitting the 300,000 new homes a year point. Sticking to the 2016 projections will help make that a reality.

Read more about the latest planning news:

  • Onwards and upwards for extensions? – Read more
  • TCPA proposes 13 steps to deliver truly affordable housing – Read more
  • Government lifts HRA borrowing cap – Read more
  • Letwin Lets Rip in Build Out Review – Read more
  • Budget 2018 Special – Read more
land value capture for communities

Government looks Onward to land value capture reform

By Kasia Banas, Consultant

The government has been called on to consider radical reform of land value capture for communities in an open letter addressed to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP.

The letter from conservative think-tank Onward was signed by 16 organisations including the National Housing Federation, CPRE and Shelter, and identified ‘the way we buy and sell land’ as the primary cause of England’s housing crisis.

The signatories believe more gains from uplifts in land value need to be invested into communities, which will lead not only to less opposition to new development, but also to much better infrastructure. They propose the following three main steps to achieving that:

  • Monitoring the implementation of changes to Section 106 to ensure that councils deliver, and developers do not continue to ‘wriggle out’ of their commitments,
  • Giving local government a stronger role in buying and assembling land for housing, allowing them to plan new developments more effectively, share the benefits for the community and approve developments in places local people accept,
  • Reform of the 1961 Land Compensation Act to clarify that local authorities should be able to compulsorily purchase land at fair market value that does not include prospective planning permission, rather than speculative “hope” value.

Finally, the letter encourages government to look for good practice examples across the borders, to other countries that are considered to be doing a better job in creating desirable new places for the benefit of all.

There are however, voices from the sector that question the early enthusiasm that these ideas have sparked. Matthew Spry, Senior Director at Lichfields UK, cast a shadow of doubt on the comprehensiveness of the proposals and stipulated that some practical questions need to be answered about them. These include issues around the purpose of capturing land value, resources, a two-tier land market, fairness and more. He warned that the failure to consider these could result in “undermining delivery in a system that, for all its many faults, is beginning to supply more of the homes we need”.

The letter was published a month after the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), the government’s infrastructure advisory body, recommended that councils be granted greater powers to capture any uplift in land value arising from planning and infrastructure decisions.

They also called for powers for local authorities to “levy zonal precepts on council tax, where public investments in infrastructure drive up surrounding property values by 2021″ and for Section 106 pooling restrictions to be removed by 2020 to increase effectiveness of the planning value system.

The government has committed to present the NIC’s assessment before parliament, and to respond to it within six months.

On 5 September 2018, the Housing Minster Kit Malthouse is due to appear at the meeting of the Communities and Local Government Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into land value capture. His evidence may provide an early indication as to the government’s position on the proposed changes to the land value capture system.