Campaign success as planning changes give more power to communities

'The priority now must be to focus on quality social housing in the right place'

The government has set out new measures in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill that give communities more say on local housing targets, as well as encouraging brownfield development and controlling short-term lets.
Commenting on the government’s vital changes to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, Tom Fyans, interim chief executive of CPRE, the countryside charity, said:
“It seems the government has finally got the message that solving the housing crisis hinges on meeting local housing need, rather than arbitrary top-down targets.
“If confirmed, this very sensible rethink is encouraging news for those at the sharp end of the housing crisis, as well as the countryside. The priority now must be to focus on quality social housing in the right place. Demand for social housing is growing nearly six times faster than the rate of supply in rural areas and, at current rates, the backlog of low-income families needing accommodation would take 121 years to clear.
“Councils must retain a strong voice in the planning process and need more resources if they are to deliver genuinely affordable housing. We are encouraged by proposals to address the problem of short-term lets. A registration scheme may be a good first step, but we need to see much stronger controls and use of the planning system to determine local priorities. Only then will we see a better balance of housing options to help families and young people who simply can’t find a place to live in some rural areas.”
Mr Fyans added: “A new government review on making it much easier to build on brownfield land is also really welcome. Currently we’re not making enough use of our previously developed land and charging higher levies on greenfield sites, as well as a genuine ‘brownfield first’ approach in planning policy, are some of the ways we can unlock its potential.”

  • Find out more about CPRE’s work on planning and development here