Government’s Planning White Paper, Our Response

We welcome the White Paper which offers a much-needed reassessment of the planning system. We would, however, like to see more ambition for this levy to support the delivery of the full range of affordable homes across different tenures.

3rd Nov 2020 - Corporate news
By  Rob Hunter

Last week we submitted a response to the Government’s Planning White Paper calling for stronger measures to enhance the supply of affordable homes.

We support many of the Government’s ambitious reforms, which if implemented successfully could really help to speed up development. However, we are concerned about the lack of emphasis on affordability, which we see as absolutely critical to addressing the housing shortage. We have recommended a series of measures which we believe would help ensure more new homes are genuinely affordable for those who need them:

  • Replace the Infrastructure Levy with an Infrastructure and Affordable Homes levy with clear objectives for delivering affordable homes across multiple tenures
  • Make more 100% affordable sites viable by exempting them from the levy
  • Ringfence funds raised through the levy so they can only be used for housing and related projects

Implementing these changes would really help to level up opportunities by increasing the supply of much needed traditional affordable housing, including social rent, affordable rent and shared ownership. This is now more urgent than ever, as we face growing demand alongside a huge backlog of unmet need.

You can read Midland Heart’s full submission here or if you would like to talk to us about our recommendations please contact


Key Recommendations

• The Infrastructure Levy should be renamed ‘The Infrastructure and Affordable
Homes Levy’ with a strong emphasis on working with housing associations
and measures to deliver the right mix of different affordable tenures
• Sites with 100% affordable homes should be exempt from the levy
• Local authorities must not be able to use the levy for other purposes at a time
of acute housing shortage
• The Duty to Cooperate should not be removed but strengthened to help local
authorities with severe constraints access suitable land
• Greater detail is needed on how rigorous community engagement and
environmental appraisal will be conducted from the start of the plan making
process, especially regarding zoning which will likely be most contentious
• The ‘fast-track for beauty’ must be clearly based on the objectives set out in
the design codes only, and not open to subjective interpretations

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