NALC this week backed the Rural Coalition’s support of the government’s intention to respond positively to the cross political party concerns for safeguards for rural affordable housing raised during the passage of the Housing and Planning Bill in the House of Lords.
The National Association welcomes the government is committed to bring forward amendments to meet the rural concerns when the bill returns to the House of Commons next Tuesday (3 May).
During debates on the bill, peers raised concerns and brought forward proposed amendments on a number of issues affecting the supply of affordable housing in rural areas, in particular:
- to give local planning authorities the discretion to exclude Starter Homes from rural exception sites;
- to exclude rural council properties from the sales of high value vacant council stock, not only in National Parks and AONBs, as the Government has accepted, but also other rural areas across England, which would be adversely affected by the loss of affordable housing and where replacement is difficult.
These, plus the retention of the clause that would enable local planning authorities to seek affordable housing contributions, either on site or as commuted sums, from all sites in all rural areas, including sites of ten homes or less, will mean rural communities will have the affordable housing they urgently need.
Cllr Ken Browse, chair of NALC, said: “NALC is pleased that the Rural Coalition which we are a member of is putting its full weight behind lobbying for changes in the bill that will help better meet the needs of providing communities affordable housing. Also we are glad that the government is listening on this and has made commitments to look at this over the coming weeks to secure the changes needed.”
Lord Robin Teverson, at his last meeting as chair of the Rural Coalition, before stepping down, said “The Rural Coalition, alongside many others, have pressed for changes to the Bill to meet the particular affordable housing needs of rural communities. We applaud the Government’s willingness to take on board the very real concerns from across the political spectrum about the adverse impact of the proposed legislation on the provision of rural affordable housing.”