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15/04/2015

UKIP would incentivise brownfield development

Words: Laura Edgar

The UK Independence Party says it will prioritise development on brownfield land and scrap the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The UKIP manifesto, Believe In Britain, states: “We will replace the current NPPF and introduce fresh national planning guidelines that will prioritise brownfield sites for new housing and genuinely protect the green belt.”

The party believes the document gives developers permissions to build “just about anywhere”, restricting the ability of local authorities to refuse planning permissions for inappropriate developments. Therefore, a UKIP government, the manifesto says, would support local communities by promoting smaller six to 12 unit developments in rural areas to extend existing villages as well as freeing up local authorities from government-imposed minimum housing numbers.

The manifesto says it is possible to build 2.5 million homes on brownfield site, but developers are wary of remediation costs. UKIP would require the Environment Agency to compile a National Brownfield Sites Register and, where necessary, provide a remediation assessment. Additionally, “grants of up to £10,000 per unit will be available to developers to carry out essential remediation work”.

Long-term dormant land held by central and local government would be identified so that it can be released for affordable developments.

Local people would be given control over the final say for major planning decisions, such as large housing developments.

UKIP has also committed to bringing empty homes back into use, with local authorities having a statutory duty to include this within their broader housing and planning strategies.

The party would scrap HS2, while they would re-open Manston Airport.

The party supports the development of shale gas fracking provided that it is done in a way that safeguards nearby communities and the environment.

The manifesto outlines the party’s support for renewable energy, but only when electricity can be delivered at competitive prices. For UKIP, hydro technology meets the affordability test, therefore it would remove “taxpayer and consumer subsidies for new wind turbines and solar photovoltaic arrays”.

The Labour manifesto outlines the party’s commitment to HS2 and how it would issue ‘use it or lose it’ powers to local authorities to encourage developers to build.

The Green Party has committed to getting rid of the New Homes Bonus and increase powers at all levels in Wales while the Conservatives have outlined plans to help first-time buyers.

The Liberal Democrat Party has pledged to improve the planning system to ensure that it promotes walking and public transport.

To read the RTPI's breakdown of the UKIP manifesto, visit the website.

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