As we now look toward the second half of a year unlike any we have known before, the Government has published details of ‘Project Speed’. The programme is part of its commitment to rebuild the economy after the Coronavirus crisis.
A new taskforce, led by the Chancellor, will implement radical reforms and work to ‘build better, build greener and build faster’, accelerating infrastructure projects across the UK, creating jobs, improving connectivity and confronting yet unresolved challenges.
Capital investments to accelerate infrastructure projects
Key to accelerating works on schools, hospitals, road and rail, the Government are bringing forward £5bn of capital investment, including:
- £1.5bn to improve patient care/hospital maintenance etc.
- £100m to progress ongoing road projects
- £1bn to begin the ‘school rebuilding programme’
- £760m to undertake repairs/upgrades to schools and FE colleges
- £142m on upgrades to and maintenance of courts
- £900m for local growth projects, i.e. regeneration of key sites
- £96m to accelerate town centre/high street development
Reforms to the UK planning system
The Government will make significant changes to the UK planning system. The intention is to reduce the amount of ‘red tape’ currently hindering some developments and kickstart the construction industry.
The new regulations will offer new freedoms in respect of the utilisation of buildings and land.
Repurposing of commercial premises should become easier and builders will benefit from certain relaxations of planning application rules. In addition, property owners looking to build additional space above a property will have the freedom to do so, subject to certain conditions.
Funding for affordable housing will be increased, whilst greater consideration will be given to how Government-owned land is managed.
A policy paper, outlining the various changes slated for September, will be published in the coming weeks.
Read the Government’s press release about ‘Project Speed’ in full, here.
Information correct at time of writing (07/07/2020). Visit our ‘Adapt, Rebuild & Recover’ Hub for more useful Coronavirus-related content, designed to help your business navigate the new challenges ahead.