Housing planning changes will make it harder to block new construction schemes

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Increasing homeownership in the midlands and the north is reportedly to be a key part of the Queen’s Speech tomorrow.

The Tories are said to believe that successes in the general election and the recent local elections were in part attributable to the number of people who owned their own house.

To reinforce that, a planning bill will be unveiled tomorrow to boost ownership in small towns and cities traditionally seen as Labour strongholds, the Times reported.

New planning laws will simplify the process and make it more difficult for existing residents to block new housing schemes with the country to be divided into “growth” or “protection” zones.

Homes, hospitals, schools, shops and offices in growth areas will receive automatic planning approval, said the Times report, while protected areas will have restricted development allowed.

A third area – for regeneration,  is said to be another part of the proposals.

Current planning rules allow residents to object when a plan is prepared and also again when an individual application is put in.

The reforms to be announced tomorrow will scrap the second-tier of objection to reduce the NIMBY (not in my back yard) influence of local wealthy homeowners.

A new first-time buying scheme is also to be trialled in Bolsover, Derbyshire, that will include discounts of 30% for purchasers.

Other changes are said to be a ‘use it or lose it’ deadline for developers sitting on land for building.

An announcement last year flagging changes to the laws ran into heavy opposition from Tory MPs in the Home Counties and it is not clear how smoothly these new proposals will progress.

Shares in housebuilders eased slightly with regional specialist Bellway PLC (LON:BWY) and leading builder Persimmon PLC (LON:PSN) each down by 0.6%.

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