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Housing minister comment: Planning overhaul a boost for the region

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Writing in the Star, Housing Minister Christopher Pincher says the Government's overhaul of the planning system will have major benefits for people across the region.

Housing Minister Chris Pincher

The last few months have been some of the most challenging in recent history.

But they have also given us a fresh opportunity to look at what matters the most to us, and at what will secure our long-term wellbeing and happiness.

That is why as we kickstart our economy, we are focussed on laying the foundations for future generations to benefit from greener, more beautiful homes and vibrant communities that are supported by modern infrastructure.

In June, the Prime Minister set out his bold ambition to get Britain building – to create places where people want to put down their roots, to raise a family and to work in.  

As Housing Minister, a Black Country man and MP for Tamworth, I am determined to ensure we deliver on the Prime Minister’s ambition and provide the West Midlands with the fuel it needs to keep firing on all cylinders.

I am pleased to say that we are delivering on that commitment.

The government has announced landmark reforms to overhaul the planning system and change the way the country builds for the better in places like Wolverhampton, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley Staffordshire and Shropshire.

By streamlining the planning system, reducing unnecessary bureaucracy and taking advantage of technology, we will ensure that new homes are built quicker.

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This will mean that local housing plans will be developed within 30 months rather than the seven years it often takes now.

We will also harness technology by placing local plans at the fingertips of local people in Wolverhampton.

This will ensure that local people will be at the forefront of planning decisions and will be engaged from the very start.

And by building on more brownfield land, we will ensure that valuable green spaces are protected for future generations.

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Our brownfield sites are often left unloved and underutilised. Our Brownfield Fund will change this – creating much-needed new homes while reducing pressure on our valued green spaces.  

Last week, the government announced an £211 million investment in the West Midlands from our Getting Building Fund and Brownfield Fund.

And we are delivering this not in five years or even five months after the Prime Minister’s speech, but after just five weeks.

Firstly, £124 million from the Getting Building Fund, worth £900 million across England, will support 47 shovel-ready local infrastructure projects across the West Midlands.

This includes nearly £15 million to accelerate the National Brownfield Land Institute, a project in Wolverhampton to create a leader in sustainable construction which will support housing on brownfield sites across the West Midlands.

As Housing Minister, I am determined to make the dream of home ownership a reality for young people in this country.

And this week, we launched our First Homes scheme to help more young people get on the ladder.

The new housing scheme will help make housing affordable by providing newly-built homes at a 30 per cent discount for local people, first-time buyers and keyworkers such as nurses, teachers and police officers.

Our ambition to build, build, build is set out in our new Planning for the Future White Paper.

And as a government, we are determined to level up the country and ensure what we build today will stand the test of time.

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