Rural concern over draft planning policy

Rural leaders have warned that the government's draft National Planning Policy Framework could worsen the provision of affordable housing in the countryside.

Nine organisations – including the Rural Services Network – raised the issue of rural housing in a joint letter to the Sunday Times.

The letter says the Prime Minister has declared it her personal mission to fix Britain’s housing crisis – and that rural England in particular needs quality affordable homes in the right places.

“The biggest need in villages is for affordable homes to rent, without which local families on low incomes are forced to move away,” says the letter.

“However, as it stands the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) could make this situation worse.

“The draft NPPF is a broadly positive step. Indeed, its support in principle for development that helps villages to prosper has been largely welcomed by rural organisations.

“Not so welcome, however, is the Entry Level Exception Site policy contained within the draft.

“This would allow for more land outside of normal planning boundaries to be released for development — but, unlike the existing approach to exceptional development, it does not involve the community, does not recommend meeting local housing needs and does not safeguard future affordability.

“Furthermore, given that open market homes will make a significant proportion of any sites, this p olicy will increase land values — which will further undermine the delivery of affordable homes to rent.

“We urge the Government to reconsider. Existing policies, when applied well in practice, already deliver quality, affordable homes in rural England. This draft policy is a backward step.

The letter was signed by representatives of the following organisations:

  • Martin Collett, Chairman Rural Housing Alliance
  • Crispin Truman, Chief Executive, Campaign to Protect Rural England
  • Graham Biggs, Chief Executive, Rural Services Network
  • David Orr, Chief Executive, National Housing Federation
  • Richard Quallington, Executive Director, Action with Communities in Rural England
  • Catherine Harrington, Director, National CLT Network
  • Jo Lavis, Director, Rural Housing Solutions
  • Sue Chalkley, Chief Executive, Hastoe Housing Association
  • Jonathan Owen, Chief Executive, National Association of Local Councils
  • Adrian Maunders, Chief Executive, English Rural Housing Association


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