New planning guidance calls for more bungalows to be built

New planning guidance calls for more bungalows to be built

New national planning guidance could change the face of local communities.

Launched yesterday, it is aimed at streamlining the planning system, replacing 7,000 pages of current guidance contained in over 230 separate documents.

The guidance is currently in ‘beta’ form, meaning that for six weeks it is open for informal comment before coming into force. During this period, the old guidance remains live.

The new guidance calls on local councils to build more bungalows for older people, and introduces a new affordability test so that councils can decide how many new homes should be approved by local planners.

This will be based on local house prices, private rent levels and average local earnings. Councils would have to keep abreast of house prices and rents and, if they rise too high, would have a duty to increase housing supply. This could lead to more new developments, including ones that have been previously vetoed.

Planning minister Nick Boles said more housing was needed to make homes affordable for ordinary people.

He said: “Just as there is a legal obligation for authorities to provide school places and healthcare to everyone who needs it, so too they must now provide affordable homes.

“House prices are out of reach for many.”

Boles also said: “Planning shouldn’t just be the preserve of technocrats, lawyers and council officers.

“Yet up to now even the experts have struggled to plough through all the background documents and find the right advice.

“To be effective our planning system needs to be supported by practical guidance that anyone can consult and follow.”

However, the proposals have not gone down well with everyone.

London Tory council Richmond said Westminster was meddling in local government affairs. Deputy leader Nick True said: “A period of silence from Mr Boles would be welcome.”

While some have welcomed more bungalows – last year, just 1,700 were given permission – Churchill Retirement Living condemned the plan as madness.

Spencer McCarthy, chairman and managing director of Churchill Retirement Living, said: “I urge the Government to abandon this crazy proposal before it is too late.

“Bungalows waste land and eat up the Green Belt. Worst of all, because it is virtually impossible to build bungalows near town centres, bungalows often mean old people are abandoned in remote and inaccessible locations – far from friends, families and loved ones.”

The planning guidance can be found at the link below.