Government wants a planning rethink

Vincenzo Rampulla NLA Public Affairs Manager

The first consultation by the new Government for the PRS has been announced and it is on a subject that has recently become very dear to landlords’ hearts.

Planning law changes have only succeeded in causing huge amounts of confusion among local authorities and landlords (see my post yesterday). Today, were going so far as to say ‘well done’ to Grant Shapps for taking action now to deal with the problem.

Today’s announcement is not just important because of what it does, just as important is the message that Grant Shapps is willing to rethink this badly thought out legislation affecting the PRS. His reasons behind the move should also be welcomed.

Grant Shapps MP, Housing Minister

He has been at pains to say that this Government does not like unnecessary red-tape and costs, even when it comes to landlords and the PRS, and that what matters is housing supply in order to help meet the challenges of homelessness.

“I’m not going to create unnecessary costs for landlords…”

So halleluiah, credit where credit’s due, this is exactly what the NLA has been fighting for all these years. This change in language and approach could finally help the sector move on, especially when the focus moves to local authorities using the powers they already have to deal with the real problem of rogue landlords.

“But for the bad landlords, I am putting councils on alert to use the range of powers already at their disposal to make sure tenants are properly protected.”

The important thing will be for the Government to now ‘walk the talk’.

It is crucial that this consultation provides a more targeted approach to planning requirements. Many areas with little or no shared housing problems have still been forced to implement the current blanket law. So, to add insult to injury, many local authority areas are struggling to implement planning laws they do not really need and which threaten to restrict the shared housing supply they do need.

It is a better idea to focus local authorities on indentifying areas where the planning rules may be necessary because of problems caused by a high density of shared housing.

That’s not to say it’s an easy route. We’ve always said that the best solutions are where councils work with residents and landlords organisations to find direct solutions to any problems they face.

But this is a start of a (hopefully) successful run for the new Housing Minister keen to make a positive mark on the sector.

4 thoughts on “Government wants a planning rethink

  1. “It is a better idea to focus local authorities on indentifying areas where the planning rules may be necessary because of problems caused by a high density of shared housing.”

    This is good in theory, but I am worried that if you give local authorities the power to do something, especially something for which they can charge, then they will probably choose to do it. This is especially true at this time of cutbacks because it creates work for themselves.

    1. The main thing is that the blanket rules will be scrapped in favour of a targeted approach. I don’t think we can expect the Government to do nothing where they consider there is an issue…

  2. We can’t expect the Government to do nothing where they consider there is an issue, but unfortunately we CAN expect local authorities to do something where there is NOT an issue! Definitely a change for the better but I guess we will find that some councils respond better than others.

  3. the well thought out (and supported by some LHA, universities, fire service and professional bodies) LACORS GUIDE TO FIRE SAFETY-recommendations – is rejected by Colchester Borough Council – strange how this guidance report is supported by university of essex and essex fire service. Who knows best – or think they do?

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