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Planning Minister announces bribes for neighbourhoods who accept new housing

Councils will receive up to 25% of the Community Infrastructure Levy for new construction projects

January 10, 2013

There is no aspiration that is so deeply ingrained in the British psyche than owning your own home says Nick Boles, Planning Minister. And he intends to do something about the slump in home ownership. Today he announced that in order to encourage local councils to build more homes they will be given up to 25% of the money raised through the new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). CIL is a charge paid by developers on the homes they build and is designed to fund local infrastructure projects. If councils approve a construction project where a  “neighbourhood plan”  is in place, then a quarter of the CIL must go towards the priorities set out in the plan. A neighbourhood plan can establish general planning policies for the development and use of land and will often be concerned with housing.

Boles also reaffirmed his commitment to taking on NIMBYs and confronting Britain’s aversion to building on green field land. He criticised previous governments for failing to build enough homes which has lead to spiraling prices. He states that 270,000 new homes need to be built every year, insisting that brown field sites and empty properties simply cannot provide this number of homes. In response to a question asked by Paula Higgins of the Home Owners Alliance he was keen to stress the significant impact of land values on the housing crisis blaming them not only for high house prices and a lack of new builds, but also for the poor quality of new housing. Consequently he argues that by freeing up more greenfield sites land values will fall and therefore so will prices, more homes will be built, and better quality ones at that.

Interestingly even one of Boles’ most fierce opponents, The Campaign for Rural England, conceded that some greenfield sites will be required to meet the housing need. This means that there is almost universal consensus that we must act now to tackle the housing crisis decisively.


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