Councils “MUST” put into action housing stock

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Councils that have yet to set out plans to build a raft of new homes have been urged to do so by David Cameron before the 2017 deadline.

The Prime Minister is warning that local authorities which fail to put together blueprints for thousands of new homes could see the Government intervening to do it on their behalf.

It is part of what Mr Cameron has called a “national crusade” to bring an end to the housing crisis by constructing a million new homes over the next five years.

As part of this house-building campaign, the Government is shortly to publish its new Housing Bill.

The legislation will require developers to build a portion of affordable starter homes when sites are big enough, to give first-time buyers an opportunity to get a foot on the property ladder.

It will also include measures to give work on brownfield sites automatic planning permission.

Builders looking to convert disused offices into homes could also be able to do so without applying for permission, in an extension of a rule first introduced in 2013.

The plans, which lay out how authorities will build new homes over the next 15 years, have still not been published by a fifth of councils, while 65% are yet to fully adopt one.

They also allow local people to have a say on where new properties go, through reviews that usually take place every five years.

Further efforts to encourage councils to take up the plans include the publication of a league table showing the stage each body is at in providing new homes.

Mr Cameron said: “My Government will do everything it can to help people buy a place of their own – at the heart of this is our ambition to build one million new homes by 2020.

“Many areas are doing this already – and this is great – but we need a national crusade to get homes built and everyone must play their part.

“Councils have a key role to play in this by drawing up their own local plans for new homes by 2017. But if they fail to act, we’ll work with local people to produce a plan for them.”