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27/02/2019

Hayes to introduce land compensation bill to Parliament

Words: Laura Edgar
Planning loophole / Shutterstock_1109058758

MP Helen Hayes will move a Ten Minute Rule Bill in the House of Commons today (27 February) that aims to address hope value and ‘fix’ the definition of affordable housing.

The Planning (Affordable Housing and Land Compensation) Bill seeks to ensure that the planning system can deliver the outcomes communities urgently need, in particular affordable housing, by “closing important planning loopholes”.

Hayes, who is a chartered town planner and member of the RTPI, said her bill would make three changes to current planning law.

  • It will “fix the broken definition of affordable housing”, replacing the current definition of up to 80 per cent of market price with a definition related to income. Hayes proposes that the new definition is one where the rental cost is “no more than 35 per cent of net household income for lowest quartile income groups in each local authority area”.
  • It will limit the scope of “hope value”, which, Hayes explained, currently means landowners gain from the speculative value of land. This “dramatically” inflates the cost and makes it much harder for councils to buy land to build social housing.
  • It specifies further legal guidelines used for viability testing in relation to planning decisions, including placing limitations on the expectations of developer profit and land values, to provide greater certainty and transparency for landowners and communities.

Hayes said: “Planning plays a critical role in the delivery of affordable housing, but there are some major problems at present which limit the effectiveness of our planning system and work in favour of landowners against the interests of communities.

“Our planning system must be able to deliver the genuinely affordable homes communities need. More than this, communities must be able to trust that it will do so. An ‘affordable’ home according to the planning system, must be a home that people on low incomes can actually afford; and the promises made both in local plans and planning applications should not be watered down later on grounds of viability.

“My bill will restore community need at the heart of the planning system and increase the speed and quantum of affordable housing delivery.”

The Planning (Affordable Housing and Land Compensation) Bill is supported by Shelter, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), and a cross-party group of MPs. It will be introduced during Prime Minister’s Questions today (27 February).


Update:

Hayes's speech in the Commons can be read here on the UK Parliament website.


Read more:

Hayes in the House: An interview with Helen Hayes MP

How can planning attract more young people into the profession?


Image credit | Shutterstock

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