Government in planning policy reversal

22 April 2015, Blog

Government ministers have been forced to reconsider planning policy that would have permitted developers to avoid paying more than £1 billion a year in affordable-housing payments.

The “vacant building credit” was unveiled towards the end of 2014, allowing developers planning to convert a vacant building into flats to only pay an affordable housing contribution on the new space that was created.

Although the policy was originally introduced to encourage housebuilding, it has attracted widespread criticism; Westminster council stated that it could stand to lose “£1 billion a year from its affordable-housing pot” under the controversial plans and many others have expressed concern that the proposed plans would encourage developers to force tenants out of offices to convert them into flats.

Under new planning guidance, council’s will be given the right to reject an applicant unless plans are for the sole purpose of redevelopment. 

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