Councils are warned they WON’T be able to block drive to build 300,000 homes a year as Michael Gove vows crackdown on ‘Nimbys’ – as poll shows less than one in 10 renters plan to vote for the Tories at the general election
Michael Gove today warned ‘Nimby’ local councils they won’t be able to block the Government’s drive to build 300,000 new homes a year.
The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary used a speech in central London to warn he would name and shame under-performing local authorities.
As he unveiled plans to boost planning performance across the system, Mr Gove admitted the Government’s record on housebuilding ‘could be stronger still’.
He hit out at a ‘resistance to new development’ in many parts of the country, admitting: ‘We have not grown fast enough.’
But he expressed confidence ministers would reach their target of building 300,000 net new homes a year – although he refused to put a date on when this would be achieved.
Mr Gove said the target would be met ‘when mortgage and interest rates are back to normal’.
Opinion polling has shown the political impact of Britons struggling with unaffordable house prices, rising mortgages and rent costs.
A YouGov analysis revealed the Tories are trailing among every group except those who own their homes outright.
Their survey found less than one in ten (8 per cent) of private renters plan to vote for the Conservatives at the general election – compared to 36 per cent who will vote for Labour.
Michael Gove warned ‘Nimby’ local councils they won’t be able to block the Government’s drive to build 300,000 new homes a year
The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary used a speech in central London to warn he would name and shame under-performing local authorities
A YouGov survey found less than one in ten (8 per cent) of private renters plan to vote for the Conservatives at the general election – compared to 36 per cent who will vote for Labour
In his speech at the Royal Institute of British Architects today, Mr Gove outlined how the publication of league tables would reveal the ‘real performance’ of councils in how they deal with planning applications.
The Cabinet minister added the tables would show ‘the speed with which they respond, the level of approvals, their delivery against targets’.
‘We will publish league tables revealing the real performance of local planning authorities, the speed with which they respond, the level of approvals, their delivery against targets,’ he said.
‘We will ensure that these tables reflect how the system is gamed at moment by some.’
Last week it emerged that councils will not have to build homes on the green belt if a development significantly changes an area’s character in a bid to protect the countryside.
But ministers are keen to push local authorities to step up and meet housing targets.
A source at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) said: ‘We have been clear that the Government is on the side of the builders and not the blockers – councils must play their part and deliver the homes this country needs, without concreting over the countryside.
‘The Housing Secretary has already told councils that they need to step up, and we are providing a lot of support to help them do so – so those that continue to drag their feet can expect to face Government intervention.’
It comes as figures from the Home Builders Federation showed new housing developments fell to a record low. Its latest ‘housing pipeline’ report said that just 2,447 projects were approved in the third quarter of this year, down 3 per cent on the previous three months and 19 per cent down on the same period in 2022.
And the number of individual housing units granted permission from councils in England stood at 50,316 in the third quarter – 28 per cent lower than a year earlier.
Just 245,872 units received planning permission in the year to September, a 15 per cent drop on the previous year and the lowest figure since 2015.
Experts said it calls into question the Government’s target of delivering 300,000 new homes a year. Home Builders Federation chairman Stewart Baseley said: ‘This is the inevitable outcome of several years of anti-growth policy and rhetoric.’
Mr Gove’s plan is in contrast to Labour’s vow to build 1.5million homes by giving councils more powers to construct on green belt land.
In July, it was confirmed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Mr Gove that the bulk of Britain’s new homes will be built in major cities as the Conservative UK Government looks to avoid building in rural areas.
The announcement came only weeks after the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee said that, while the Government was on track to deliver one million new homes over the course of the current Parliament, it was not forecast to deliver 300,000 net new homes per year by the mid-2020s – a target in the Tory 2019 election manifesto.
The DLUHC said ministers were ‘continuing to deliver’ on the target of building one million homes over this Parliament, between 2019 and January 2025.
Deputy Labour leader and shadow housing secretary Angela Rayner said: ‘Michael Gove’s latest announcement is truly through the looking glass.
‘Despite all this tough talk, he and Rishi Sunak have stripped away every measure that would get shovels in the ground and houses built to appease their backbenchers.
‘We simply can’t be expected to believe that the Government will take the steps necessary to get the homes built that Britain desperately needs.
‘The Conservative government has sent housebuilding into crisis, with rock-bottom rates of planning permission decisions, spiking interest rates and housebuilding set to plummet.
‘The devastating impact of this Government’s reckless decision to abolish local housing targets will have real consequences for housebuilding rates across England, threatening to lock a generation out of getting a secure home of their own.’
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