Housebuilders’ body calls for councils to lose planning veto on schemes that comply with proposed PPG3

Housebuilders have demanded that local authorities should not block any scheme on the grounds of its housing mix as long as it complied with proposed rules under a revised PPG3.

In a written response to last January’s Planning for Mixed Communities consultation paper, the House Builders Federation called for the government to ease the planning process in return for giving authorities greater control over the size and type of housing.

The HBF said: “It is unacceptable for the local planning authority to continue to have a veto on individual applications if the application meets the household mix criteria.”

The government’s consultation paper sets out changes to Planning Policy Guidance 3, which allows councils to specify the size and type of houses to be developed. The whole of PPG3 will come under review this summer.

The HBF’s response to the consultation paper also said that local authorities would be basing their assessment of all housing need on a “simplistic” formula currently used to allocate social housing. This system calculates percentages of various households, which are used to build a correlating mix of house types.

The HBF said: “Within the private sector, such simplistic equations bear no relationship to the actual choices that people make in providing housing for themselves. This must be reflected in the emerging policy.”

Robert Ashmead, HBF chief executive, told Building: “We think it’s very important that we focus on increasing supply and not on subsidising demand using affordable housing, which is a short-term strategy.”

He added that if the new powers were to be introduced, they should only be applied to larger schemes. The HBF says the minimum size of development on which authorities are able to stipulate the mix of private and social dwellings should be 150 and not the 60-unit threshold outlined in the consultation paper.

The HBF’s response also said that the separate 15-dwelling cut-off point for demanding affordable housing contributions was too low.

It said: “To continue to provide housing for people who, in the past, would happily be part of the overall housing market, is not sustainable and will continue to put pressure on public resources.”

The response also said the ODPM must make authorities include housebuilders in the process of preparing local housing assessments, to ensure that they are robust.