• Issue 34

  • Mar 2018

The Source

‘Nimby’ Councils will Lose Planning Powers to PINS

The Housing secretary, Sajid Javid has said that the Planning Inspectorate will take over from failing “Nimby” Local Authorities to decide where new homes are built. Councils that undersupply against their new targets derived from the Government’s standard assessment would be denied the right to decide planning applications.

The standard assessment already returns the power to set housing targets to the Government, after some Local Authorities had set artificially low housing requirements in their Local Plans. The Government will now take this further in a move which has echoes of a return to the revoked Regional Spatial Strategies.

Targets will be set by taking into account the difference between local average wages and existing house prices, setting higher targets for areas with higher unaffordability ratios.

Housing secretary Sajid Javid has sent the willies up authorities after threatening he would be “breathing down your neck every day and night” to ensure home-building targets were met.

Javid told the Sunday Times: “We have a housing crisis in this country. We need a housing revolution. The new rules will no longer allow ‘nimby’ councils that don’t really want to build the homes that their local community needs to fudge the numbers.”

The housing secretary added: “At the moment there is nothing in the system that checks to see they are actually delivering. There’s no comeback or sanction and that is going to change.”

Sajid Javid was careful to ensure his idea would not impact the Green Belt heartland, but any area outside “naturally protected land” would be available for housing growth.

He also revealed plans to build new towns between Oxford and Cambridge. “Along that corridor there’s an opportunity to build at least four or five garden towns and villages with thousands of homes,” he said.

In response, John Healey, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for Housing, suggested that the Tory minister is attacking Local Government for the Tory party’s failings: “This year-old policy shows again that ministers have no proper plan to fix the housing crisis. Eight years of failure on housing is the fault of Whitehall, not town halls.”

“Since 2010, home ownership has fallen to a 30-year low, rough sleeping has more than doubled, and the number of new homes being built still hasn’t recovered to pre-recession levels.”