LOCAL GOVERNMENT Secretary Sajid Javid has come under fire for insisting every council should have a plan to meet local housing needs while his department blocks a Yorkshire authority’s proposals.
Developers will have less time to build homes once planning permission is granted and help will be offered to families renting in the private sector as part of a new Government plan to tackle the housing crisis.
Councils will have to produce plans setting out where houses can be built which are based on realistic figures for local demand.
The Government’s housing White Paper highlighted more than 40 per cent of councils do not have local plans and said some authorities “duck difficult decisions”.
But Mr Javid faced criticism from Bradford Council because his department is currently blocking the city’s local plan.
The Government put the plan on hold in October following complaints about the proposal from Shipley MP Philip Davies and the authority is still waiting to here what will happen next.
Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “Sajid Javid makes an important point in insisting that every local authority needs a local plan. The irony though is not lost on Bradford.
“We have a local plan but Government has been sitting on it for four months now, delaying its adoption.
“From our reading of the White Paper, there doesn’t seem to have been any significant policy changes which should impact on our local plan.
“It’s high time they released Bradford’s plan so that our green belt is protected from speculative and unwanted development. I’m seeking a meeting with the Secretary of State to ask when they are likely to release it.”
The Government called on councils to make as much use of brownfield land as possible to limit pressure on the countryside and said a there would be a “high bar” to pass for any proposal to buiild on green belt.
It will be made easier for developers to offer affordable private rental homes and ministers will work with the British Property Federation and the National Housing Federation to ensure that “family friendly” tenancies of three or more years are available.
Mr Javid said: “With prices continuing to sky rocket, if we don’t act now, a whole generation could be left behind.”
Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey, the Wentworth and Dearne MP, described the White Paper as a “white flag”.
“This is a Government with no plan to fix the country’s deepening housing crisis,” he said.