Friday, 16 October 2015 08:47

Councils 'must deliver plans for homes'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Councils 'must deliver plans for homes'

Councils must produce local plans for new homes in their area by 2017, the government has warned.

Failure to do so will see the government produce plans for councils instead, said Prime Minister David Cameron.

    See also: Rural warning against Right-to-Buy

While 82% of councils have published local plans – which should set out how many homes they plan to deliver over a set period – only 65% had fully adopted them, said Mr Cameron.

Almost 20% of councils still did not have an up-to-date plan at all.

Mr Cameron said he expected all councils to create and deliver local plans – making sure they take action to help reach the government's ambition of delivering 1 million homes by 2020.

"A Greater Britain must mean more families having the security and stability of owning a home of their own," he said.

"My government will do everything it can to help people buy a place of their own – at the heart of this is our ambition to build 1m new homes by 2020.

"Many areas are doing this already – and this is great – but we need a national crusade to get homes built and everyone must play their part."

"Councils have a key role to play in this by drawing up their own local plans for new homes by 2017. But if they fail to act, we'll work with local people to produce a plan for them."

The Prime Minister unveiled the proposals ahead of the publication of the Housing Bill which the government claims will help deliver 1m homes by 2020.

It comes just days after the government announced a controversial agreement to extend the Right-to-Buy to 1.3m additional tenants from as early as next year.

The Housing Bill spells out a series of further proposals to boost homebuilding and home ownership.

It includes a new legal duty will be placed on councils to guarantee the delivery of Starter Homes on all reasonably sized new development sites, and to promote the scheme to first-time buyers in their area.

The government has also announced plans to let local authorities bid for a share of a £10 million Starter Homes fund so they can prepare brownfield sites that would otherwise not be built for starter homes.

Mr Cameron has also announced that a temporary rule introduced in May 2013 allowing people to convert disused offices into homes without applying for planning permission will be made a permanent change.

It follows almost 4,000 conversions which were given the go ahead between April 2014 to June this year.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: "Our homes don't just shelter us, they shape us – which is why most people want to own a home of their own."

During the last five years, the government had increased housebuilding from its lowest levels since the 1920s, by reforming the planning system.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) – which reinforced the role of local plans – was introduced in 2012 as a way of ensuring developments met local needs.

In their plans, councils are required to produce an annual trajectory of how many homes they plan to build in their area – usually over a period of around 15 years.

They must also be reviewed regularly – usually every 5 years – and give local people more of a say on where new developments go and what they look like.

The government says that the average number of homes planned for by local authorities stood at 573 per year before 2012.

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It says putting local plans and housing delivery at the heart of the planning system has helped fuel the housing pipeline.

Local plans published after the reforms containing on average 717 homes per year – a 25% increase, the governmet claims.

Ministers will shortly be bringing forward further details of how to intervene when councils fail to get started on their plans.

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