New rules give councils more power to build homes

June 5, 2018 / Isla MacFarlane
New rules give councils more power to build homes

Under new rules, councils will be able to seek government’s approval to launch a New Town Development Corporation, which will be responsible for delivering new towns and garden communities in their area.

The new bodies themselves will be responsible for master planning and project development, bringing on board private investment, partnering with developers and overseeing the completion of a new town or garden village with each expected to deliver tens of thousands of new homes.

Held accountable by councils, the development corporations will be expected to involve communities in their projects, which includes allowing residents to have their say on how high-quality homes are delivered.

Subject to the normal planning requirements, including safeguards that protect the Green Belt, the corporations will be led by teams made up of council representatives, community stakeholders, experts in delivering major projects and other partner organisations involved in the delivery of sites.

Housing Minister Dominic Raab MP said, “We need to build the homes our communities need and I’m committed to giving councils the tools they need to deliver.

“That’s why we’re giving councils the option of applying to establish development corporations. These will be locally accountable and must listen to the views of the community to ensure that the right homes are built in the right places.”

Previously, all New Town Development Corporations created by the Secretary of State remained accountable to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Housing Minister Dominic Raab MP introduced the regulations to Parliament on 4 June, which are subject to further debate by MPs and will come into force later this year once approved by Parliament.

Cllr Martin Tett, LGA Housing spokesman, said, “The LGA has long called for oversight of local development corporations to be carried out by councils, so that local communities can have as much say as possible about developments in their areas. It is positive that the Government has listened to the views of local communities on local development corporations.

“We will continue to engage with the Government to ensure that we can make the most of these new opportunities to deliver homes through local development corporations, and will continue to support the sector in efforts to deliver new homes. However, there is no quicker way to deliver these homes than by triggering the renaissance in council housebuilding we need, by lifting the housing borrowing cap and enabling councils to borrow to build once more.”

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