Projects contributing to the construction of 45,000 new homes are to get the go-ahead amid a larger planning reform shake-up expected this week.
The Treasury has said it will allocate £900m from funds announced in Rishi Sunak’s budget to more than 300 so-called “shovel ready” schemes, which include the homes, new commercial space, and infrastructure projects.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the investment would be “laying the foundations for a green economic recovery”.
Jenrick and the prime minister have promised radical changes to planning laws in England, which are due to be formally announced in the coming days.
The changes could see both homes and hospitals granted automatic planning permission in order to speed up building.
Under the plans, local councils will be asked to designate land either as ‘growth’, ‘renewal’ or ‘protection’. New developments will be granted automatic permission on ‘growth’ land, while ‘renewal’ areas will see developments given “permission in principle” – subject to some checks.
Areas with ‘protection’ status – for example, the greenbelt – will not have automatic building rights.
The forthcoming planning reforms have brought warnings from housing charities about the potential risk of low-quality homes.
The government has also confirmed a £360m investment in Mayoral Combined Authority areas such as Greater Manchester and the West Midlands to build an additional 26,000 homes while protecting greenfield sites.
A further £8m is earmarked to accelerate delivery of these new homes on brownfield sites.
The business and energy department also detailed plans to fund up to two-thirds of the costs of green home improvements for more than 600,000 homes across the UK.
The work must be done by tradespeople with TrustMark accreditation for improvements from wall insulation to the installation of low-carbon heating.
Households on low income can receive vouchers covering 100% of the cost of the improvements, up to a maximum of £10,000.
The investment in homes is part of the £5bn New Deal spending announced in June.
Read next: Government confirms Help to Buy extension