Housing Minister Grant Shapps has called on rural communities to work together and prepare for a new Right to Build that will enable them to give the green light to new developments in their area.
Mr Shapps confirmed that through the Community Right to Build, to be introduced in the forthcoming Localism Bill, local rural housing projects that secure the support of 75% of voters and meet minimum planning criteria will go ahead without the need for a specific application for planning permission.
Initially, ministers had proposed a 90% threshold for approval of projects proposed through Right to Build - but it became clear that there was a strong preference for a lower threshold.
Under the proposed new Community Right to Build local people will be able to deliver the homes they really want, rather than being told their expansion plans don’t fit into the local council’s plans and therefore cannot go ahead.
Grant Shapps said:
“No-one knows the challenges that rural communities face better than the people who live there. I want to give them the power and the freedom to tackle local issues with local solutions through the Community Right to Build, so they can give the go-ahead to the new homes their area needs.
“That’s why new Community Right to Build organisations will not need to make specific planning applications for new developments. Those plans that get 75% support in local referendums will no longer need to go to the Town Hall for approval - instead, work can begin much more quickly.
“I’ve listened to the views of the public that responded strongly to our consultation, and I believe this threshold strikes the right balance between enabling communities to go ahead with their plans for expansion, while at the same time ensuring the support of the overwhelming majority of the wider community. And I hope it gives rural towns and villages across the country the prompt they need to prepare for a new Right to Build as a solution to the housing challenges they face.”