Review must create rural homes

The Rural Services Network has welcomed proposals for a major overhaul of national planning policy.

A consultation on a draft National Planning Policy Framework was launched by the government on Monday (5 March).

RSN assistant director Andy Dean said it was important the review was implemented in a way that created more affordable rural homes.

    See also: Major review of planning rules unveiled

Mr Dean said: “It is critical to success that local authorities have adequate resources to plan effectively. There is no evidence that councils are holding back development.

“It is really important to maintain the position of Rural Exception Sites as a delivery mechanism for affordable housing in rural areas.”

New concept

Mr Dean added: “The new concept of Entry Level Exception Sites (ELESs) is interesting and develops the undoubted success of Rural Exception Sites.

“It is important that local communities are intrinsically involved – on the location, design, tenures and who lives in the homes – and that ELESs build on rather than undermine Rural Exception Sites.

“The government needs to ensure the delivery of more affordable homes in rural areas by unequivocally removing the current threshold of 10 units where affordable homes need to be provided on market housing sites.”

Mr Dean further commented: “It is encouraging that the new draft NPPF gives some specific consideration to rural communities from both a housing and economic point of view.

Rural ambition

“We hope that this consideration continues into future national policy decisions as we go forward.

“The RSN particularly welcomes the ambition to reform the viability assessment loophole, which has been used to prevent delivery of thousands of new rural affordable homes.

“The detail of how such assessments are carried out in practice will be critical.”

The full consultation document and its associated proposals can be viewed here.


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