Weak foundations to rural housing policy – The Yorkshire Post says

IT IS understandable that the Government wants to streamline and simplify the planning process – just about the only sector relatively unscathed by the Covid-19 crisis in Yorkshire appears to be the construction industry.

A shortage of affordable housing blights rural areas.

However the impatience of Ministers to ‘get Britain building’, their new mantra, must be countered by their responsibility to ensure that new developments meet current regulations and pay sufficient heed to the needs of local areas.

A case in point is Yorkshire’s rural heartlands which were already facing a crisis over the availability of affordable housing long before Covid began to undermine the very foundations of the national and international economy.

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But it also requires a far more nuanced response than developers being compelled to set aside a designated number of new properties for social housing – a particular problem in the Dales, for example, is the number of houses that are, in fact, not built once planning permission has been granted and local sensitivities overcome.

What more can be done to encourage developers to build affordable homes in rural areas?

And that means national, regional and local bodies developing a strategy that incentivises developers, and others, to build affordable housing – it is clear that current inducements do not go far enough – while also ensuring that the aesthetic appeal of rural areas is safeguarded.

It will not happen, however, if the Government allows its reforms, however well-intended, to become a planning ‘free-for-all’ and overlook critical issues, like the availability of low cost-homes in the countryside, that are fundamental if an area like North Yorkshire is to flourish as the place to live and work.

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Thank you

James Mitchinson