Rishi Sunak wants to transform industrial zones into residential areas

Author Alexander Tatiev
Category Columnists, People, Town
Date February 15 2024
Reading Time < 1 min.

Rishi Sunak wants to transform industrial zones into residential areas

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced plans to streamline housing construction on abandoned sites throughout England. These measures, aimed at stimulating housing development, target so-called “brownfields” (sites previously used for industrial or commercial purposes) in major cities, which should help overcome the housing crisis and revitalise urban areas.

Developed in collaboration with Housing Minister Michael Gove, Sunak’s plan includes reforms to incentivise developers to invest in abandoned urban areas. Among the key measures is the “presumption of industrial land,” whereby local authorities may not approve development plans only if there are serious arguments “against” it. Additionally, under the new rules, the process of converting commercial properties into residential homes is facilitated as size restrictions are lifted. Thus, the government aims to stimulate urban growth while preserving rural areas.

However, some representatives of the construction industry remain skeptical, citing broader housing market issues. For example, when Michael Gove relaxed construction targets for local authorities (such as municipalities being allowed not to allocate sites for development if they believe it will harm the “green belt” or the characteristics of the area), it led to a reduction in the number of proposed projects and a decrease in the number of new homes by 9% in 2023 compared to the previous year. Stakeholders emphasise the need for comprehensive solutions alongside planning reforms.

Read more