Councils 'won't be forced to earmark greenfield land for new homes'
Local councils ‘won’t be forced to earmark greenfield land for building homes’ amid fears of election backlash in Tory heartlands
Local councils will no longer be forced to earmark greenfield land for building new homes under a shake-up of the planning system, it has emerged.
Housing Secretary Michael Gove is expected to soon announce reforms in a bid to appease rebel Tory MPs who have warned about a general election backlash.
According to The Times, changes will be made to how local authorities are required to set aside and designate enough land to meet their future housing needs.
The newspaper reported, under the reforms, councils will be able to set local plans with fewer homes if they can demonstrate meeting the target would damage the character of an existing area or require building on the green belt.
Councils will also be given an exemption from building new homes on prime agricultural land, it added.
Housing Secretary Michael Gove is expected to soon announce reforms in a bid to appease rebel Tory MPs who have warned about a general election backlash
Local councils will no longer be forced to earmark greenfield land for building new homes under a shake-up of the planning system, it has emerged
According to The Times, changes will be made to how local authorities are required to set aside and designate enough land to meet their future housing needs
Ministers are said to believe the changes will allow more homes to be built in the long-term because local authorities will be incentivised to produce realistic plans for their areas that have local support.
A Government source said: ‘We are reforming the planning system to put local plan-making at its heart.
‘This will allow communities to take back control of housing in their area, while supporting much-needed development in brownfield and inner-city sites.
‘We are on track to see a million new homes completed this parliament and are accelerating our plans in Cambridge, central London and the heart of Leeds.’
There are a number of Tory MPs in the party’s traditional heartlands who fear losing their seats at the next general election due to opposition to local housebuilding.
Former Cabinet minister Theresa Villiers, Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet, led a backbench rebellion against existing planning rules.
She said she hoped planning reforms would respect ‘local democratic input’.
‘The Government has a longstanding commitment to ensure the voice of local communities continues to be heard in relation to what is built in their neighbourhood,’ she said.
‘We all recognise how important it is to build the homes we need. It is possible to do that whilst still respecting local democratic input, for example by focusing on high-density delivery in urban city centre sites.
‘Once it is published, I’m sure the new NPPF (National Policy Planning Framework) will be carefully scrutinised by all sides of the debate.’
But the Government is risking a backlash from industry, with critics warning the reforms would amount to a ‘NIMBY’s charter’ to block developments.
An industry source told the newspaper: ‘This will be disastrous.
‘Under the old system there were strong incentives for councils to produce realistic plans to meet their future housing needs.
‘Under this system there will be next to nothing to stop councils effectively imposing a moratorium on building the homes that we need.’
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