Government set to underwrite infrastructure projects

The Government plans to re-write planning rules to allow development on Green Belt in its raft of measures to speed up growth this autumn.

Chancellor George Osborne unveiled the controversial idea to relax planning rules as he reiterated the Government’s plan to boost construction of infrastructure and new homes.
The Government will encourage councils to allow developers to build on the Green Belt if an equivalent area of land elsewhere was redesigned.

“I think we can speed up planning. It is absolutely ludicrous that it takes years to get planning decisions in this country. This country, in the current economic environment, cannot afford to wait years for development,” he said.

The Bill is to give a Green Light to GBP40-B of construction projects by using the government’s low interest rates to underwrite them.

Projects qualified for government guarantee must be ‘nationally significant’, ready to start construction within 12 months, financially credible and be of ‘good value’ for taxpayers.
Meanwhile, ministers are expected to make plans to underwrite up to £10B worth of new homes, including guaranteeing the debt of housing associations and private sector developers.

Peter Knight of Knight Site Solutions, Property project managers in Manchester said “There will be serious concerns about this from environmental groups. We have land designated as green belt and encouraging people to build on it with cause concerns“.

Peter added: “It is a difficult one, because the economy and construction industry is in need of a desperate boost, but will this provide the answers?”.