Housing minister Grant Shapps has today unveiled the government’s latest “localist” proposals for the planning system, which aim to let rural villagers decide where they want homes built.
The Community Right to Build scheme would allow villages to set up local housing trusts, and hold a referendum to decide if house building should go ahead.
The new rules, which will be part of the forthcoming Decentralisation and Localism Bill, would allow development to go ahead without a planning application if there was “overwhelming” support through a referendum.
Shapps said: “The countryside must be a vibrant place to live, and cannot be allowed to become a museum. I want to give communities the power to preserve their villages, which are currently struggling to survive because of a shortage of affordable homes.
“With housebuilding at its lowest level in any peacetime year since 1924, some areas are facing a battle to keep schools and GP surgeries open as younger people are forced to move away. The new Community Right to Build could provide the answer.
“I want anyone with the vision and drive to build homes in their area to be able to do so. I want to hear about the challenges they’ve faced, and for them to look at our plans for the Community Right to Build, as it could offer them the freedom to achieve their ambition.”