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Rishi Sunak caves in to Tory housebuilding rebels: Councils get power to override new home targets

Rishi Sunak caves to Tory rebels planning housing: Councils will gain power to override government targets for new housing if they decide they damage the ‘character’ of an area as the PM tries to weed out opposition from parliamentarians in the county

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Rishi Sunak bowed to Conservative rebels opposed to house building in leafy suburbs and rural areas by allowing them to override targets designed to help solve the UK’s housing crisis.

Michael Gove announced tonight that ministers have watered down the plans to dictate targets for new housing which would make them guidance rather than binding figures.

Councils will have the power to override the figures if the number or density of homes in a given development would “significantly change the character” of the area.

In a letter to MPs, Communities Secretary Michael Gove said the Grading and Regeneration Bill would be amended to abolish mandatory housing construction targets.

It comes after 60 Conservative MPs from prosperous areas threatened to revolt to soften their impact.

Led by former minister Theresa Villiers, they are backing a series of amendments to the proposed planning legislation as they seek to tighten rules on building houses in the countryside and suburbs.

Chipping Barnet MP, Ms Villiers, said: “These reforms will rebalance the planning system and give local communities greater influence over what is built in their neighbourhood.”

But the move is likely to anger Conservatives, including former ministers Sajid Javid and Simon Clarke, who have warned that not building more housing that young people can afford is socially damaging and politically suicidal.

Rishi Sunak Caves In To Tory Housebuilding Rebels Councils Get

Chipping Barnet MP, Ms Villiers, said: “These reforms will rebalance the planning system and give local communities greater influence over what is built in their neighbourhood.”

Michael Gove, The Leveling Up, Housing And Communities Secretary, Is In Talks With Disgruntled Conservative Mps Over The Government'S Flagship Leveling Up And Regeneration Bill.

Michael Gove, The Leveling Up, Housing And Communities Secretary, Is In Talks With Disgruntled Conservative Mps Over The Government'S Flagship Leveling Up And Regeneration Bill.

Michael Gove, the Leveling Up, Housing and Communities secretary, is in talks with disgruntled Conservative MPs over the government’s flagship Leveling Up and Regeneration bill.

Mr Gove said he acknowledges that “there is no truly objective way of calculating how many new houses are needed in an area”, but “the process of planning for housing has to start with a number”.

The change would make the centrally determined target a “starting point”, with councils able to propose building fewer homes if they faced “genuine constraints” or if they had to build at a density that would “significantly change the character” of their area.

The bill is expected to return to the House of Commons next week for the second day of its reporting stage.

Ministers have also announced a consultation on whether homes being converted to short-term holiday rentals on sites like AirBNB should require planning permission for a change of use.

There will also be a consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) published before Christmas.

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Jacky

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