The Government signalled a house-building boom in the countryside after councils were urged to lift “blanket” bans on rural development. New planning guidance published by ministers yesterday argues affordable homes are essential to a “thriving rural community in a living, working countryside”. New planning guidelines, published online yesterday, will also impose a duty on town halls to keep close tabs on local house prices and rents. If they soar out of reach of the lowest 25% of earners in their area to service a mortgage or pay rent, they must construct new homes ordinary people can afford.
Nick Boles said
“If you have a normal job, as a plumber or a van driver, it has become significantly harder for you to buy your own home in the last 15 years. House prices are out of reach for many.” He argues just 9% of land in the UK is developed, and increasing the footprint by a fraction would prompt greater house-building.
But Mr George, MP for St Ives, warned building in the countryside has merely seen an increase in luxury homes for second homeowners. He said: “This is the complete opposite of what the countryside needs. The best way to solve the affordable housing crisis in rural areas is to stop all development and use the exceptions policy – only build when exceptional need can be demonstrated. “A let-rip strategy does not work. What Nick Boles wants to do is what places including Cornwall have been doing for 30, 40 years. So we are not Nimbys. House-building has doubled but we still have the problems. What it is doing is putting greed before need.”
Comment Another mad idea. Some days you get the feeling Government Ministers do not understand how the real world operates! Building more houses does not make them more affordable! Mr George is quite right – the policy needs to be to grant permission ONLY when a local need can be demonstrated.
The Government needs to deal with houses being bought as second homes/holiday lets/luxury retreats not bleat on about covering everywhere with houses!
Cornwall has tried that approach for years – it does not work!
Oh and by the way we need that undeveloped land for things like growing food!!