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Cautious welcome for ‘Right to Build’

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Right to Build proposals in the government’s Localism Bill have found support in the building industry, but concerns linger over its true effectiveness on the ground

The National Housing Federation (NHF) has welcomed the move to lower the threshold for local approval of new housing schemes from 75 per cent of the population to 50 per cent.

Cameron Watt, Head of Neighbourhoods at the NHF said: ‘This is really good news. There is a realistic chance of more housing projects going ahead.’

However, there are still concerns that the Bill may not be strong enough to give impetus to housing developers. The NFH added: ‘The Bill may not provide enough bottom-up pressure to encourage developers. There needs to be a national presumption in favour of sustainable development so that councils allow housing developments to go ahead.’

The scope of the Bill to create swathes of new homes was questioned by a senior source at a major house builder. ‘Analysts following this see no real increase in the volume of new homes being built,’ he said, ‘just the fact that developers will now have to engage with local communities.’

There is a severe shortage of affordable housing in the UK and the Localism Bill was seen as a way of increasing developments by handing power to local communities. ‘At the moment we are building 120,000 new homes every year,’ said Cameron Watt. ‘But estimates show we need to be building at least 240,000 new homes every year, so we still have a long way to go.’

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