“Council chiefs today warned the Government was creating a developers’ charter that could see local objections to house building ignored to hit targets.
Under new rules unveiled today, housebuilders would be able to ignore local plans for mapping areas for homes if fewer than 75 per cent of those required by Whitehall targets for 2020 are constructed.
It means in some cases developers could be able to override a rejection of planning permission by appealing over local councillors.
The Local Government Association (LGA) claimed the new ‘housing delivery test’ would ‘punish communities’ opposed to bad developments.
The test is part of the new national policy planning framework (NPPF) announced by Communities Secretary James Brokenshire on Tuesday.
Mr Brokenshire said the rules would create a planning system ‘fit for the future’ which married requirements for building numbers, build quality and environmental requirements.
But Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, said the plan failed to give councils the powers they needed ‘to ensure homes with planning permission are built out quickly, with the necessary infrastructure, in their local communities’.
He said: ‘It is hugely disappointing that the Government has not listened to our concerns about nationally set housing targets, and will introduce a delivery test that punishes communities for homes not built by private developers.
‘Councils work hard with communities to get support for good-quality housing development locally, and there is a risk these reforms will lead to locally agreed plans being bypassed by national targets.
‘Planning is not a barrier to housebuilding, and councils are approving nine out of 10 applications.
‘To boost the supply of homes and affordability, it is vital to give councils powers to ensure homes with permission are built, enable all councils to borrow to build, keep 100 per cent of Right to Buy receipts and set discounts locally.’
In a written ministerial statement Mr Brokenshire told the Commons that the NPPF ‘provides greater certainty for local authorities in the decision-making and planning appeals processes’, adding: ‘A new Housing Delivery Test will also measure delivery of homes, with consequences for under-delivery.’
The British Property Federation said it welcomed the test.
Ian Fletcher, its director of real estate policy, said: ‘This will provide a consistent measure against which different local authorities’ performances can be compared.
This is the way that the Government will deliver on its housing promises, and as importantly, cater for a generation that wants to have a home to call their own.’