Current Government Consultations - November 2018

A brief summary of current government consultations of potential interest to RSN members. This is not intended as an exhaustive list of all relevant consultations.


Landscapes review (National Parks and AONBs): call for evidence – Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

The government want to know what you think works well and what could be improved in England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). They are asking for evidence which will help inform an independent review.

They are keen to hear from people with views that might shape and improve their findings. In particular, people who:

  • live in a national park or AONB
  • run a business in them
  • enjoy visiting
  • care about landscapes and biodiversity

This consultation closes on 18 December 2018.

New Build Developments: Delivering gigabit-capable connections – Department for Digital, Culture, media & Sport & HM Treasury

Government want to know what you think about proposals to make it a requirement for developers and operators to provide gigabit-capable connections to new homes.

This consultation states: “The Government is committed to providing the UK with world-class digital connectivity that is gigabit-capable, reliable, secure and widely available across the UK - and to do so at pace. We have set an ambitious target of making gigabit-capable networks available to 15 million premises by 2025, with nationwide coverage by 2033.

The consultation is seeking responses on the following main proposals:

  • Developers and network operators share the cost of connecting new build sites to gigabit-capable networks.
  • Introducing a ‘duty to connect’ provision upon network operators.
  • Amending Building Regulations Approved Document Part R: (Physical infrastructure for high-speed electronic communications networks). This will mean all new build sites will be built with the necessary infrastructure in place to support gigabit-capable networks.

This consultation closes on 21 December 2018.

Private shared homeownership: call for proposals – Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government & HM Treasury

Government is seeking proposals from private investors, delivery organisations or partnerships between them to provide new routes into affordable home ownership.

Government state that they would welcome proposals in 3 categories:

  • private shared ownership which would be primarily privately funded
  • other private affordable homeownership products which should be primarily privately funded
  • other innovative routes into homeownership which do not require government investment but may require the removal of regulatory or other barriers

Proposals should not rely on government grant funding, government guarantees or developer s106 contributions. Government are particularly interested in private shared ownership proposals where they believe government loan funding will play an important part in removing the risk and financial uncertainty created by staircasing. (Staircasing is the term given to buying extra shares in a shared ownership property.)

This consultation closes on 1 February 2019.

Planning reform: supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes – Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government & HM Treasury

The government states: “We are committed to simplifying and speeding up the planning system, to support the high street, make effective use of land and deliver more homes. Building on existing planning reforms, the government is consulting on proposals that will allow greater change of use to support high streets to adapt and diversify, support extending existing buildings upwards to create additional homes, and speed up the delivery of new homes.”

The consultation includes separate proposals in respect of:

  • Part 1: new and amended permitted development rights and changes to use classes, including to support the regeneration of the high street and to extend existing buildings upwards to create new homes.
  • Part 2: the disposal of surplus local authority land - rationalising and updating the rules which govern disposal of public land at less than best value.
  • Part 3: a draft listed building consent order to support the work of the Canal & River Trust.
  • Part 4: draft guidance on the compulsory purchase powers of new town development corporations

This consultation closes on 14 January 2019.

Changes to planning policy and guidance including the standard method for assessing local housing need – Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government

The publication of new household projections by the Office for National Statistics has led to a significant reduction in the overall numbers generated by the standard method for assessing local housing need.

This consultation sets out proposals to update planning practice guidance on housing need assessment to be consistent with increasing housing supply.

This consultation also proposes clarifications of national planning policy on:

  • housing land supply
  • the definition of deliverable
  • appropriate assessment

This consultation closes on 7 December 2018.

Implementing reforms to the leasehold system – Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

In December 2017, the government announced it would tackle unfair practices in the leasehold market by introducing legislation to prohibit new residential long leases from being granted on houses, other than in exceptional circumstances, and restrict ground rents in newly established leases of houses and flats to a nominal amount.

This consultation sets out how the government intends to make changes and on how they should implement the reforms. This includes understanding circumstances for exemptions and measures to improve how leasehold properties are bought and sold.

The consultation also aims to promote fairness for freeholders and includes proposals to ensure that the charges that freeholders may pay towards the maintenance of communal areas are fairer and more transparent.

This consultation closes on 26 November 2018.

Rents for social housing from 2020-21 – Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

The government is proposing to issue a new direction from the Secretary of State to the Regulator of Social Housing to ensure that, from 2020 onwards, the Regulator’s rent standard:

  • “reflects our announcement in October 2017 that we intend to permit registered providers to increase their rents by up to CPI+1% each year, for a period of at least 5 years; this announcement recognised the need for a stable financial environment to support the delivery of new homes
  • “applies to local authority registered providers (as well as to private registered providers), to reflect the roll out of Universal Credit”

The direction also sets out the basis on which social rents and affordable rents are set.

This consultation closes on 8 November 2018.

Prepared by Andy Dean, Assistant Director at the Rural Services Network


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