Sajid Javid has warned the government will be “breathing down” the neck of local authorities to make sure they deliver the number of homes their areas need. Houses will forced onto councils in breach of local plans if they fail to comply.
A housing delivery test, which was mooted in the housing white paper, would result in a presumption in favour of sustainable development applying “automatically” to all proposals if the number of homes being built in an area falls below 25% of its target.
In an interview with the Sunday Times the housing and communities secretary said “new rules will no longer allow Nimby councils that don’t really want to build the homes their local community needs to fudge the numbers”.
He added: “We are going to be breathing down your neck to make sure you are actually delivering on those numbers.”
In a speech in London today Theresa May will warn “it’s also time for builders and developers to step up and do their bit.”
The prime minister will highlight some areas where action could be taken, such as “allowing councils to take a developer’s previous rate of build-out into account when deciding whether to grant planning permission.”
She will add: “I want to see planning permissions going to people who are actually going to build houses, not just sit on land and watch its value rise. Where councils are allocating sufficient land for the homes people need, our new planning rulebook will stop developers building on large sites that aren’t allocated in the plan – something that’s not fair on residents who agree to a plan only to see it ignored.”
Ms May will urge councils to “do all they can to find sites, grant planning permissions and build homes” including through adopting a new nationwide standard that shows how many homes authorities need to plan for in their area.
She will also say that developers and councils need to work together better to meet the needs of communities.
However, Ms May will also warn that the “answer to our housing crisis does not lie in tearing up the green belt” and will add councils “can only amend green belt boundaries if they can prove they have fully explored every other reasonable option for building the homes their community needs.”
This all forms part of a major overhaul to the national planning policy framework, the first in six years. The plans will be consulted on over the next eight weeks with a final version expected to be published in the summer.