According to Nick Herbert MP (WSCT 15 Dec 16), Housing Minister Gavin Barwell, has announced that neighbourhood plans would be protected for two years, unless there is a significant lack of land supply.
Ostensibly this is good news for communities that have ‘made’ neighbourhood plans.
But are Mr Herbert and the Housing Minister aware that having a five-year supply of housing is dependent on the performance of developers and house-builders who are under no regulatory obligation to meet five-year requirements?
Mr Barwell and Mr Herbert should read the report by Civitas - ‘Planning approvals vs Housebuilding activity, 2006-2015’ (Aug16), which found that of the 2,035,835 new homes granted permission by local authorities over the period only 1,261,350 have been started.
The report concludes that this huge shortfall has accumulated because house-builders and developers are hoarding permissions in order to push-up house prices and profits and that ‘the key to building many more homes does not lie in increasing the number of permissions which are granted each year – but in ensuring that those permissions which are granted are built out much more quickly’.
It would therefore be helpful if Mr Herbert were to ask the Housing Minister to direct Planning Inspectors to take into account this reality when deciding Appeals where councils are unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of housing.
Dr R.F. Smith
for Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) Sussex, Bashurst Copse, Itchingfield
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