Housebuilding targets to be relaxed amid rebellion of MPs: Reports

HOUSING targets for councils will be relaxed amid a rebellion of Conservative MPs, it has been reported.
Ahead of a vote on the Levelling Up Bill in Parliament, nearly 60 rebels had pledged to back a plan to ban mandatory targets in England – including in areas such as Dorset and Somerset – saying they were excessive.
Now, it is being reported Housing Secretary Michael Gove has offered councils more flexibility over meeting the targets.
Meanwhile, the public accounts committee said the government is unlikely to meet its housebuilding targets.
Not enough socially-rented homes are being built, the committee added.
The Department for Levelling Up said the targets would become a “starting point” for development, with new flexibilities to “reflect local circumstances”.
The targets are incorporated into long-term hosuebuilding plans by councils, usually over a 15-year period.
Councils that fail to meet them can have their power to block new developments curbed.
In September, Dorset Council reports showed the county had failed to meet targets, for reasons such as overall availability of land and the complexities of development.
Meanwhile, another issue being addressed in Parliament is reported to be the introduction of registration schemes for holiday lets, while a consultation will also be launched on making homeowners get planning permission to convert their homes for tourist use.
Rebel MPs also said Mr Gove has agreed councils with an up-to-date housebuilding plan won’t have to set aside a rolling five-year stock of land for future development.
The government has a target of building 300,000 homes each year by the mid 2020s, but MPs on the public accounts committee said meeting it was unlikely.
A committee report showed housebuilding totals are 32,000 homes short of goals set in 2016 and 2021 for affordable homes.
Committee chair Dame Meg Hillier said: “The human cost of inaction is already affecting thousands of households and now the building programme is hitting the challenges of increased building costs.”

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