Tuesday, 03 May 2016 06:41

Government to address housing concerns

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Government to address housing concerns

The government is expected to address rural concerns about its Housing and Planning Bill.

Government ministers are expected to bring forward a number of amendments when the Bill returns to the House of Commons on Tuesday (3 May).

Cross-Party concerns were raised peers during the passage of the Bill in the House of Lords.

During debates on the Bill, peers brought forward proposed amendments on a number of issues affecting the supply of affordable rural housing.

Proposed amendments include:

* giving local planning authorities discretion to exclude Starter Homes from rural exception sites.

* excluding rural council properties from sales of high value vacant council stock in areas which would be adversely affected by the loss of affordable housing and where replacement is difficult.

A Rural Coalition of eight countryside interest groups said it welcomed the government's intention to respond positively to concerns for safeguards for rural affordable housing.

It said the retention of a clause enabling local planning authorities to seek affordable housing contributions would also ensure rural communities had the affordable housing they needed.

The clause will secure affordable housing contributions, either on site or as commuted sums, from all sites in all rural areas, including sites of ten homes or less.

    See also: Right-to-buy 'could worsen rural housing crisis'

Coalition chairman Lord Robin Teverson said: "The Rural Coalition, alongside many others, have pressed for changes to the Bill to meet the particular affordable housing needs of rural communities.

"We applaud the Government's willingness to take on board the very real concerns from across the political spectrum about the adverse impact of the proposed legislation on the provision of rural affordable housing.

"The changes promised, and those already secured, show that the Government has listened.

"We look forward to seeing the detail of how they will meet the commitments given over the coming weeks."

As well as the Rural Services Network, the coalition includes Action with Communities in Rural England, Country Land and Business Association and the Plunkett Foundation.

It includes the National Association of Local Councils, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Arthur Rank Centre and the Town & Country Planning Association.

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