27,000 homes approved against councils wishes

Aaron Morby 10 years ago
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Steep Government targets for the amount of land councils must allocate for housing are opening the door to major housing developments in the countryside.

According to new research new planning rules have seen 27,000 homes approved against local authority wishes.

A new research paper from the Campaign to Protect Rural England scrutinised just over 300 appeal decisions on applications for major housing developments on greenfield land between March 2012 and May 2014.

It found that planning inspectors overturned the decisions of local councils in almost three quarters of cases where there was no defined land supply.

This paved the way for 27,000 houses to be granted planning permission in this way – amounting to 8.5 % of all houses planned across the country in that period.

Introduced in March 2012, the National Planning Policy Framework requires local councils to demonstrate a five-year land supply for housing in an attempt to boost house building.

Councils without a local plan are powerless to decide where developments should go in their area, but only 17.6 per cent of councils have had plans approved by Government.

Furthermore, those who have not managed to meet their targets face the punishment of finding an extra 20 per cent of land as a ‘buffer’ to ensure ‘choice and competition’.

John Rowley, planning officer at the Campaign to Protect Rural England who coordinated the report, “We support the Government’s desire to simplify planning and meet the urgent need for new homes.

“Yet councils must be provided with detailed guidance on housing targets, and brownfield land must be prioritised so that unnecessary greenfield development is not so blatantly and regularly allowed through the back door.”

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