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Feb 8

Housing white paper debrief: the key points and public consultation

Community housing, Localism, Policy

local community self build housing

The government’s long awaited plans on how to boost the supply of new housing in England was released yesterday in their housing white paper.

The key points (as highlighted in the Guardian) from the report were:

  • Incentivising older people to downsize to smaller properties
  • Forcing developers to start building within two years of securing planning permission
  • A £3bn fund to help small builders deliver more homes
  • Incentives for build to let
  • Maintaining protections for the green belt.

More specifically, there are areas of the report that relate directly to our work around neighbourhood planning and community-led housing:

Housing requirement figure

There are provisions to enable neighbourhood planning groups to obtain a housing requirement figure from their local planning authority to help avoid delays in getting a neighbourhood plan in place.

Clear design expectations

Amendments to planning policy to create an expectation that neighbourhood plans should set out clear design expectations following consultation with local communities. The white paper proposes the use of tools such as design codes that respond to local character to do this.

Green belt

Changes to planning policy on the green belt to make clear that development brought forward under a neighbourhood development order should not be regarded as inappropriate in the green belt, provided it preserves openness and does not conflict with the purposes of the green belt.

Allowing neighbourhood plans to determine changes to green belt boundaries, where a local or strategic plan has demonstrated the need for green belt boundaries to be amended. Neighbourhood plans would not be able to change the general extent of the Green belt, the white paper says.

Further funding for neighbourhood planning

A promise to make further funding available to neighbourhood planning groups from 2018-2020.

You can read the full white paper here.

Consultation: have your say

You can have your say on the white paper and its proposals for changes to housing, sustainable development and the environment.

We encourage groups who have been supported through neighbourhood planning or community-led buildings and housing programmes to respond, specifically looking at issues around:

  • the green belt review
  • the requirement of local planning authorities to provide housing numbers (and the consequences of not providing these numbers)
  • proposed amendments to examinations in the planning system (not just neighbourhood planning).

Respond to the consultation here by 2 May 2017.

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