Projects to build up to 45,000 new homes are to get the approval as part of the latest round of investment from Boris Johnson’s promised “New Deal” ahead of the radical planning shake-up announced this week.
The move is part of a £1.3bn investment package confirmed by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick on Tuesday.
Successful projects being funded include:
£23m for phase 1 of the development of commercial space at Mayfield Park in Greater Manchester, expected to deliver 3,200 jobs and attract over 1 million visitors a year.
£14.88m to accelerate the National Brownfield Land Institute, a project aiming to create a leader in sustainable construction that will support the housing deal and drive levelling up across the region.
£12m to support a new high-speed railway station in Thanet, Kent, improving transport in the area and creating 800 new jobs.
The government has also confirmed a £360m investment in Mayoral Combined Authority areas through its £400m Brownfield Fund which will deliver a further 26,000 new homes while protecting greenfield sites.
A further £8m of funding has also been announced to help speed up the delivery of these new homes on brownfield sites and the government is inviting ambitious bids from the Mayoral Combined Authorities for the remaining £40m of the fund.
Details of the new £2bn Green Homes Grant scheme, which will see the government fund up to two-thirds of the cost of home improvements of over 600,000 homes, have also been announced.
Tradespeople must register for TrustMark accreditation to take part in the scheme, which will cover green home improvements ranging from the insulation of walls, floors, and roofs, to the installation of low-carbon heating, like heat pumps or solar thermal.
Households on low income can receive vouchers covering 100% of the cost of the improvements, up to a maximum of £10,000.
The government however, is facing a deluge of criticism from housing campaigners, environmental groups, and architectural bodies such as RIBA, after it subsequently published its long-awaited whitepaper (August 6th) which sets out proposals for the largest shake-up of the UK's planning regime in decades.
“While welcoming the commitment to greener homes, environmental groups highlighted a raft of concerns with the new proposals, voicing fears that new standards are likely to be under-policed and warning that efforts to fast-track planning approvals risk creating new 'slums'.”
Unveiling the controversial proposals, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick insisted the plans would "lay the foundations for a brighter future, providing more homes for young people and creating better quality neighbourhoods and homes across the country".
He said: "We will cut red tape, but not standards, placing a higher regard on quality, design and the environment than ever before," he added. "Planning decisions will be simple and transparent, with local democracy at the heart of the process."
The white paper reiterates the government's plans to strengthen environmental standards for new homes and hints that it could pull forward the 2025 target date for introducing the new Future Homes Standard, which will require new homes to be "zero-carbon ready".
"From 2025, we expect new homes to produce 75-80 percent lower CO2 emissions compared to current levels," the paper states. "These homes will be 'zero carbon ready', with the ability to become fully zero carbon homes over time as the electricity grid decarbonises, without the need for further costly retrofitting work."
It added that the government will respond to the consultation on the Future Homes Standard in the autumn, but highlighted feedback from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and confirmed that Ministers "intend to review the roadmap to the Future Homes Standard to ensure that implementation takes place to the shortest possible timeline".