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New PPS3 housing policy shifts responsibility on to councils

Housing minister Yvette Cooper has announced new Planning Policy Statement (PPS3), setting out reforms to the planning system to create more homes.

Under the new rules, the onus will be shifted to councils to plan their housing strategies much further in advance - 15 years ahead - to prevent houses being held up by delays in the planning system.

RIBA policy officers are understood to be extremely pleased with the new document, believing it will benefit the architecture profession.

The new PPS3: Housing replaces Planning Policy Guidance 3: Housing, and aims to clear obstacles in the planning system to provide more suitable sites for housing development.

Under PPS3, local authorities will also have to ensure they are getting the right mix of homes. Councils will also have to check that the number of family homes is correct, as well as ensuring the housing needs of children are met, involving access to play areas, gardens and parks.

Cooper said: 'The new planning rules will support more homes for families. Bad housing for children can haunt them for the rest of their lives, which is why it is so important to ensure there are enough family homes with gardens, play areas and parks.

'In London, for example, four out of five new homes are one- and two-bedroom flats. While we need more new homes for first-time buyers and single households, we also need to insist on more family homes.'

The reforms will force councils to bring more brownfield sites back into use, a move that will be supported by the new National Brownfield Strategy, which was published for consultation yesterday.

by Richard Vaughan

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