Watered Down Housing White Paper to Rely only on NHB Withdrawl to Force Housing Land Release

Huffpost – the restructuring of the NHB is nothing new – it was announced under Cameron and has been reduced by a 1/3rd since to fund Social Care.  In othe words the ónly ‘in the article indicates the Housing White Paper has nothing new to announce.

Councils which fail to free up extra land for new homes could miss out on a £4.8 billion Government fund, The Huffington Post UK has learned.

The Tories are likely to use the New Homes Bonus fund as “a stick to beat” councils with if they do not allocate more land for houses, a local government insider told HuffPost UK.

The fund is paid out to councils as a reward for building affordable houses and filling empty homes.

But the Conservatives may now threaten to withdraw the extra money, in a “tough new drive to get more houses built”, a government source said.

The rumours are they are going to really push councils to release more land for building. It’s likely to be only through removing grants, such as the New Homes Bonus”, he said.
The paper is expected to suggest more incentives for building on brownfield sites and to move away from a reliance on the big developers.

It is also likely to include plans to force councils to release more land for development, HuffPost UK has learned.

But Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey told HuffPost UK Conservative MPs should “look to themselves before they start pointing the finger at councils”, over a lack of housing in the UK.

“Since 2010, we’ve seen investment in new homes slashed, ministers moving the goalposts on planning rules, and big cuts for council planning departments”, he said.

“This has slowed down new housebuilding and knocked the number of new affordable homes being built to the lowest level in 24 years

Housebuilding rates have risen in the last eight years, but still missed Government targets of 220,000 new homes a year in 2015-16.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has said:

“Local plans put power in the hands of local people to decide where developments get built in their area. Planning policy encourages locally led development and does not set national housing targets.

“Our white paper, to be published this month, will clearly set out how we plan to build the homes this country needs.”

DCLG declined to comment further on the contents of the white paper.

LGIU 58% of Cllrs in Green Belt Areas believe Some Green Belt will to be Sacrificed for Housing

Times

Most councillors in green-belt areas believe that the land will be given over to housing in the next five years.

A survey for the National Trust found that 58 per cent of councillors agreed the land would be lost, compared with 51 per cent of those asked the same question in 2013.

The responses to the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) survey came just before the government publishes its housing white paper. Nearly three quarters of local councillors believe that the planning system favours developers while just over half said that housing was being approved even if they were not in line with local plans, because of relaxed regulations.

The LGiU warned that many councillors felt that the democratic tool of having to approve applications at a council level was being undermined and power was being skewed towards developers and the government. It voiced concerns that the National Planning Policy Framework, introduced in 2012, was failing to put communities first.

Almost half of respondents had seen an increase in the number of planning decisions being challenged and overturned since the framework was adopted. Of those respondents, half said that it made councils more likely to approve schemes.

Less than a fifth believed that the framework had improved design quality and half of the 1,278 councillors surveyed thought that their planning departments were not adequately resourced.

Jonathan Carr-West, LGiU chief executive, said: “The planning system is one of the fundamental pillars of local democracy, allowing communities to help shape the physical structure of the places they live. Councillors are the most important link between communities and the system. Our survey with the National Trust shows that many councillors feel that this democratic tool is at risk of being undermined.”

Ingrid Samuel, historic environment director at the trust, said: “It is almost five years after the government’s planning framework was adopted, so it’s worrying that councillors feel it hasn’t delivered the localism promised.”

Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, is due to launch the white paper this month. There is tension within the Conservative Party between the need to build more houses and fears over a “backlash” from middle England.