Gove – If you have beaten past targets you can build less

How will this work – as most areas beating past targets still have pre standard method local plans with low targets, are are growth areas, so where will this leave? Of course already if you build more than your standard method you need less over the remaining 10-15 years of a local plan, and it is unclear if the minister was just stating that fact or extending the principal to the 5YHLS.


Rural areas which have exceeded housing targets in the past will not have to build as many homes in future, Michael Gove has pledged in a bid to see off a potential Tory rebellion.

The Levelling-Up Secretary told MPs that he wants to ensure that local authorities which have “out-performed expectations” in recent years do not have to stick to rigid targets to build many more.

And he denied that his department was seeking a “power-grab” where national planning policies should override locally-agreed plans.

He said: “Quite rightly it should be the case that if a local community has invested time and care in making sure it has a robust local plan, that should prevail.”

Mr Gove’s promise came after Tory MP Paul Holmes said the Government’s target to build 300,000 homes makes the “blood drain” from many faces in local communities.

Mr Gove has promised to rewrite local planning rules following Tory grassroots anger at a target to build 300,000 new homes a year.

Appearing before the Levelling-Up select committee, he said it was a “manifesto ambition”.

He added: “There’s been a lively debate about how those numbers are generated, and how we make judgments about household formation and population growth overall.

“My own view is that whatever figures you arrive at nationally, and how it’s broken down authority by authority, a greater proportion of housing need should be met in urban areas on brownfield sites. 

“Many of our cities are significantly less dense than their counterparts elsewhere and that is bad for everything from transport to economic growth.

“Second, I do believe that we need to have in plan-making a judgment about the likely level of new housing required. 

“I also think that in plan-making we should have a system whereby once a plan has been adopted, a community can feel confident that you don’t get speculative development undermining the commitment to local democratic control.”

Mr Holmes asked him: “The target of 300,000 a year makes local communities’ blood drain from their face, particularly in areas like mine where a local authority has built double that which was required under assessed need. People are quite rightly concerned about that, even though they recognise that we need housing.

“If a local authority over the past five or seven years has built more than the assessed need is required, would a future formula under your stewardship recognise that and align some future formula to reducing the number of houses required locally?”

Mr Gove replied: “Yes. That’s what we propose to do. 

“There are at least two things we want to do to acknowledge those authorities that have outperformed expectations, requests or targets. 

“And also to ensure that if there is a robust plan in place and a clear pipeline, that the local authority is not held to be in breach of the five-year land supply requirement.”

The minister also said it was not the case that national planning policies would override local plans.

“I do know there are some concerns about a perceived power grab and what I want to do is provide people with reassurance on that,” he said.

“Quite rightly it should be the case that if a local community has invested time and care in making sure it has a robust local plan, that should prevail.”

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