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Villages gain right to build homes

Rural communities in England will be able to build homes without planning permission under plans announced by the government

Under the Right to Build scheme, villages will be able to create local housing trusts and put forward plans for small-scale affordable housing schemes, which are expected to number fewer than 20 homes.

A referendum would then be held to consider the plans, with a large majority required to secure approval.

The initiative is intended to help people who are being squeezed out of the communities they grew up in due to rising house prices and forms a part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s ‘big society’ drive to hand more power back to local areas.

The plans have been criticised by the Campaign to Protect Rural England, which says development decisions, particularly in the Green Belt, should be taken by those who are democratically accountable.

Housing minister Grant Shapps said: ‘Loads of people in village communities are saying, ‘Our school’s closing, our post offices are under threat, we’re losing our community facilities.Our problem is that the young people grow up and find they can’t afford to live in this village any more. We believe that people have a right to stay in their community and if people want to build that community to make it a bit bigger and expand it a bit, within reason, they should have the powers to do that.’

Readers' comments (3)

  • Another great idea, will be interesting to see if the "not in my back yard" attitude means that even fewer new homes are buildt in rural areas.............
    N

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  • Planning really is in a Pickle. What will they do when this doesn't work, especially in the South East where Nibyism is rife.

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  • John Kellett

    The principal reason for there being a lack of affordable housing in rural areas is the planning system and outdated policies. The solution is not to circumvent the whole issue but to correct the policies and planning systems that are at fault.
    The purpose of town planning is to determine what goes where most effectively in order to achieve that objectives of the community as a whole. Too much time is being spent by LPAs 'determining' applications on the basis of detailed design and appearance subjects most know very little about.
    Is there research to indicate the minimum and maximum population sizes required for various community facilities? Only then can objective policies be set for rural communities.
    Under the currently proposed scheme there is a huge danger of self-appointed community leaders achieving a power they should not have. The 'cure' would be far worse than the 'illness'!

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