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10/05/2016

Housing and Planning Bill: Commons reject Lords’ Right to Buy amendment

Words: Laura Edgar
Housebuilding / iStock_000004570153

The House of Commons has rejected a number of amendments made to the Housing and Planning Bill by the House of Lords last week, including one on Right to Buy.

The bill is currently going through the ping-pong procedure as the two houses attempt to agree on its wording.

Housing minister Brandon Lewis stated that the House of Commons disagrees with an amendment (10B) made by the Lords. The amendment would have meant that where a local authority can demonstrate need for other types of affordable housing it would be able to meet all or part of the starter homes requirement by delivering alternative types of affordable housing.

Lewis said he was “very surprised” that the Lords chose once again to oppose “one of our important manifesto commitments, namely the commitment to ensure that more homes are built”.

He said the amendment would “totally undermine” a commitment made during last year’s general election campaign to deliver 200,000 starter homes by 2020.

The Commons also rejected two amendments, 47B and 47C, tabled by Lord Kerslake relating to Right to Buy. The amendments would allow a local authority to retain money from the sale of vacant high-value local authority housing to fund the cost of replacing affordable homes sold on a like-for-like basis. This would be in agreement with the secretary of state and where the local authority can demonstrate need.

Lewis said the amendments “are more or less identical to earlier incarnations”.

Labour MP for Erith and Thamesmead, Teresa Pearce, said about the right to buy amendments: “If the government do not accept the proposal for one-for-one, like-for-like replacements, they need to explain why. Without that commitment on the face of the bill, there will be a huge loss of genuinely affordable homes as this government sounds the death knell for social housing.”

MPs also rejected the Lords amendment that would give parish councils and neighbourhood forums a limited right of appeal on planning decisions.

Lewis said: "The government cannot support amendments that risk introducing the principle of a third-party right to appeal against a grant of planning permission. That would add more complexity and unpredictability to the planning system, significantly delaying sustainable development and housing delivery."

Instead, MPs voted to introduce a new clause: “Local planning authorities: information about neighbourhood development plans.”

Pearce questioned this counter-amendment and explained that it “only provides for a report to be written on neighbourhood plans when applications are permitted, we would already expect that of any good local planning authority”.

The Commons rejected the Lords amendment that would have introduced a Carbon Compliance Standard for new homes built after 1 April 2016. MPs approved a new clause – Review of minimum energy performance. This would require the secretary of state to carry out a review of any minimum energy performance requirements approved by the secretary of state under building regulations in relation to dwellings in England.

MPs rejected the Lords amendment that would remove an automatic right to connect to the public sewage system and improved an amendment in lieu. This would require the secretary of state to carry out a review of planning legislation and planning policies concerning sustainable drainage.


Read more here:

Government defeated on starter home proposals 

Lords vote through 4 amendments 

Lord inflict further defeats on the government 

Lords pass third reading amid more amendments 

Government blocks Lords’ starter homes amendments 

Lords vote to reinstate amendments


Image credit | iStock

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