What do the Tories have in store for architecture?
Conservative manifesto - key points
Schools: The party would ‘open at least 500 new free schools’ over the course of the next parliament, resulting in an additional 270,000 school places. The expansion of academies, studio schools and university technical colleges would also continue. The Conservatives pledge investment of ‘at least £7bn’ to provide good school places by 2020, but give no categoric schools capital commitments. In terms of general funding, the manifesto says: ‘On current pupil-number forecasts, there will be a real-terms increase in the schools budget in the next parliament.’
Housing: A pledge to build 200,000 starter homes exclusively for first-time buyers under 40, to be offered at a 20% discount to market rates. An additional 275,000 ‘affordable’ homes would be built by 2020. A £1bn ‘Brownfield Fund’ would be created to support development on previously-used sites. Designated Housing Zones would provide 95,000 new properties by 2020 – a significant increase on the ‘up to 45,000 homes’ expected to be delivered by the 28 pilot and prospective Housing Zones announced in last month’s budget. The party is also targeting a doubling in the number of self-build properties with a new ‘Right to Build’ offer for local people.
Right-to-Buy: The option to buy council properties currently enjoyed by local authority tenants would be extended to those renting housing association homes. Local authorities would be required to sell off their most valuable council homes when they become vacant to help fund the provision of replacement affordable homes.
Planning: The Conservatives would ‘ensure’ that local authorities have a register of brownfield sites within their bounds and that 90% of those sites that are considered ‘suitable’ would have planning permission for housing by 2020. The Consevatives would also ‘halt the spread’ of onshore wind farms by ending subsidies for them and changing the law to give local people a ‘final say’ on wind-farm applications.
Environment: Build 1,400 new flood defence schemes, protecting 300,000 homes. Provide stronger protection for natural landscapes, and the establishment of a ‘blue belt’ to protect marine habitats. New ‘pocket parks’ would also be created in towns and cities.
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