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CPRE reaction to NAO report

The National Audit Office has today published a report Planning for New Homes detailing its analysis of how effectively the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government supports the planning regime to provide the ‘right homes in the right places’. It describes how vital the planning system is in determining how many, where and what types of new homes are built. However, as the report concludes, the current planning system is not working, corroborating CPREs own analysis.

The report’s key conclusions include the fact that:

  • Local authorities have struggled to produce up-to-date local plans: only 44.1% of local authorities had an up-to-date local plan and 13.6% had no local plan at all.
  • If a local authority does not show it has a five-year supply of land for housing, it gives developers greater freedoms to build where they want, and a local authority has less control over the location of development. This limited local authority control risks ill-suited developments.
  • Developers can use the planning system to pay less in contributions than agreed.

Matt Thomson, Head of Planning at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:

‘To deliver the right types and number of homes that communities need, in the places where they are needed, it is essential that our planning system delivers. But for too long, our countryside, local councils and their communities have been let down by a failing system that prioritises delivering abstract housing targets over building homes that the people who need them can afford to live in.

‘With more than half of all councils struggling to provide an up-to-date local plan, this report echoes CPRE’s analysis. Local plans are crucial if we are to get the right housing built with the support of local communities, but the current planning system embeds the principle that if developers fail to deliver, the local plan is declared invalid.’

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