The building of new homes in rural areas could be boosted by proposals set out in today’s Housing White Paper, says the CLA which represents landowners, farmers and other rural businesses.
CLA President Ross Murray said: “Landowners are a large part of the solution to meeting our country’s housing needs, and we welcome the White Paper as a step forward. We support the proposed improvements to National Planning Policy, to ensure it delivers the homes that rural communities need urgently.
“Rural areas will benefit from Government acceptance of CLA proposals to amend national planning policy so as to promote thriving villages and small scale housing developments.
“Unfortunately rural areas are particularly held back by Local Authorities having inappropriate and outdated Local Plans in place. That is why we support measures for Government to intervene, and the new requirement for updates every 5 years.
“We are also pleased with the breakthrough in our efforts to secure greater opportunities for private landowners to provide affordable housing. We will work with Government to clarify the ‘Build To Rent’ proposals to ensure it delivers the CLA’s ambition and unlock potential for a significant boost in affordable housing provision.”
The White Paper also provided important clarifications on Green Belt policy.
Ross Murray said: “We welcome Ministers intention to clarify rules so that Green Belt boundaries should only be amended in exceptional circumstances. The experience of those living in the Green Belt is that boundaries are constantly changing as local authorities permit development on one area of Green Belt land, and then compensate by extending boundaries elsewhere. This can reduce economic activity in rural areas. We will work with Ministers to ensure that the policy changes proposed end this practice.”
The CLA did set out concerns about the negative impacts of a dramatic increase in administrative fees, both for applications and for planning appeals.
Ross Murray said: “We understand that planning departments are under resourced, but we can see big downsides of a 40% increase in fees for smaller applicants. It could well be counterproductive, stopping small developments being brought forward. This problem will be compounded by the risk of prohibitive appeal fees. We will urge Government to look closely at the impact of these fee hikes on rural developments.”