Changes to PPG3 will give councils more power to provide affordable housing in rural areas and on commercial land.

The government has announced plans to increase the amount of land available to affordable housing. In changes to Housing Planning Policy (PPG3), the government is allowing more commercial land to be used for housing and is enabling rural local authorities to allocate land specifically for affordable housing.

The update to PPG3 Supporting the Delivery of New Housing states that councils should look favourably at planning applications for housing or mixed-use developments. Planning for Sustainable Communities in Rural Areas says that councils can allocate small sites for affordable housing in small rural communities if they are permanently dedicated to meeting the needs of key workers and local people.

Keith Hill, minister for planning, said: “[Local planning authorities] can allow redundant commercial land to be redeveloped for housing, freeing up more brownfield land where it is needed.”

“We are also retaining the rural exception approach, allowing small sites next to rural villages to be developed solely for affordable housing.”

Hill also announced further proposals aimed at ensuring local planning authorities and developers worked together to deliver the appropriate mix of housing. The Planned for Mixed Communities consultation plans to make developers demonstrate how they will meet the needs of local communities.