Responding to the Government’s announcement on its consultation for assessing housing need, Cllr John Fuller, Chairman of the District Councils’ Network, said:
“District councils, as the housing and planning authorities, are at the forefront of housing delivery, enabling almost 50 per cent of new housing completions last year and approving 90 per cent of planning applications. The DCN fully supports the Government’s housebuilding ambitions and we will continue to play a central role in helping to deliver them.
“We have concerns that a national formula may never take into account all local constraints but, whilst contentious, this may provide greater certainty in plan making and speed up the process in some cases, an outcome which would be welcomed. Our members will want to be reassured that where there are overriding environment or infrastructure constraints that this must be taken into account in the plan making process.
“To deliver additional housing growth, district councils must be given greater fiscal freedom and incentives to truly unlock their potential. We continue to call on government to ensure that the New Homes Bonus incentivises all housing growth by removing the baseline threshold, unlocking planning permissions that are not being delivered, increasing the time available to spend Right to Buy receipts, allowing Districts to retain 100 per cent of Right to Buy receipts to build new homes and to lift the borrowing cap for the Housing Revenue Account.
“The DCN has long called for an increase in planning permission fees and we therefore welcome the Government’s recommitment to increasing planning fees by 20 per cent, which must now be agreed by Parliament at the earliest opportunity. We also welcome the potential for a further 20 per cent increase going forward.”