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05/05/2016

Housing and Planning Bill: Lords vote to reinstate amendments

Words: Laura Edgar
Housing / iStock_000074406885

The government faces a fight to get the Housing and Planning Bill into law as the Lords voted to reinstate a number of measures rejected by MPs.

The bill is currently going through the ping-pong procedure between the House of Commons and the House of Lords as they try to reach an agreement on the wording of the bill.

On Tuesday (3 May), ministers rejected a number of measures inserted into the bill by the Lords, including on starter homes and pay to stay. 

In total, the Lords inflicted five defeats on the government during the session.

Amendments 47B and 47C, tabled by crossbencher Lord Kerslake, relate to Right to Buy.

They 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, with the agreement of the secretary of state and where the local authority can demonstrate need.

The Lords voted 275 to 219 in favour of these amendments.

Amendment 97B would give parish councils and neighbourhood forums a limited right of appeal on planning decisions.

Baroness Parminter, who tabled the movement, said: “Eagle-eyed noble Lords will have noticed that this is an even more limited appeal than that for which we argued on Report. At that stage, we argued that it should be open to local councils and parish councils which were concerned about a policy in an emerging plan as well as a made plan. This amendment addresses purely a proposal which is contrary to a neighbourhood plan.”

The Lords voted 248 to 214 in favour of the amendment. 

Lord Kerslake moved an amendment that would add an additional clause to a government amendment (10A). He said it would give “the local authority the opportunity, if it can demonstrate a need, to meet part or all of the so-called starter homes requirement through alternative forms of affordable home ownership”, such as shared ownership or rent to buy.

The Lords supported the amendment 272 to 212.

Baroness Parminter said the homes built must meet greenhouse gas targets and contribute to lowering fuel bills and she tabled a motion to approve Lords amendment 108, which would introduce a carbon compliance standard. The House of Commons rejected this on Tuesday.

The Lords voted in favour of the motion, 237 to 203.

Baroness Parminter said a further amendment aimed to ensure that homes built are done so with sustainable drainage, would "protect homeowners against flooding and deliver wider environmental benefits to the community – and, indeed, for biodiversity”.

The Lords voted in favour of the amendment, 223 to 199.

Also during the debate, the Lords approved a number of government amendments, including to place restrictions on the re-sale of starter homes and to introduce exemptions for rural homes from the starter homes requirement.

The government made a number of concessions on the policy of high rents for high income social housing tenants, including to introduce a taper of 15 per cent on every pound above the minimum income threshold earned by a social housing tenant.


Read more:

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


Image credit | iStock

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