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Planning Minister demands more homes in the countryside

The English must that homes need to be built on undeveloped land for the sake of younger generations according to Planning Minister Nick Boles MP.

Planning Minister demands more homes in the countryside

The Minister was speaking to the Builders Merchants Federation at the prestigious think-tank, Policy Exchange, in central London.

Boles said that the prospect of home ownership was slipping away for many young people and blamed today’s housing crisis on the failure of previous governments to release enough land for development – and inflationary house prices, caused by constrained levels of home building.

There is plenty of undeveloped land to spare in England for more affordable housing, he said, adding that reserves of available brownfield sites were running out – 76% of all homes built in 2010 were on previously developed land.

The Minister announced that communities that welcome development in their area will receive up to 25% of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) raised so that local residents can put this money to community use.

The BMF has previously pointed out how communities are caught in a classic two-way squeeze:

 the flight of young people away who cannot afford to live locally

 an influx of older people from elsewhere with second homes, or who want to escape the ‘rat race’ and relocate permanently (especially in South-Western England).

BMF Policy Manager, Brett Amphlett said: “The lack of sensible homebuilding contributes to the protracted decline of villages as they struggle to cope with declining rural populations. The exodus of people who cannot afford village life leads to falling school and electoral rolls – and the closure of schools, shops, pubs and post offices.

“It was intriguing to hear a Conservative Minister using social justice as an argument in the housing debate. He was keen to establish moral grounds for building new homes on undeveloped land. His vocabulary marks a significant hardening in the stance of his Government towards ‘NIMBYs’. And it reveals the exasperation of ministers that reforming planning has not accelerated homebuilding”.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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