19 April 2023
The UK Government has recently launched a consultation on the introduction of a short term let Use Class. In its policy background the consultation document mentions one of the reasons for implementing this register is due to concerns being raised about the impact on the availability and affordability of local rental housing and increased house prices driven by additional demand from owners of short-term lets.
Alistair Watson, UK Head of Planning and Environment commented that this consultation does not acknowledge and address the supply side issue and the reasons for the lack of homes for local people at affordable rents and prices. Many of the 'cherished towns' being referenced are burdened with planning restrictions and controls that prevent new homes being developed. Some of these include: land not yet allocated for housing, out of date local plans, out of date housing demand figures, and restrictive village and town boundaries.
Al added: "Homes for local people are a local and regional need. There is a shining opportunity to change the supply side, rather than adding paperwork to a creaking planning system. For example, if it was proposed that the above planning restrictions do not apply where local homes are for local people. The local homes would stay local in perpetuity, by way of a local homes planning condition, and the market and market housing would continue in the same way it does now; unrestricted.
"There are many commercial issues at play here, and societal ones too. Local homes for local people will help bring about local economic growth - direct, indirect and induced and catalytic - and a stable local homes for local people policy allows local communities to grow sustainably.
"There is already a standard form planning condition that is adapted and used in relation to the rural accommodation. So the principle is right there, already in the planning system. The common sense approach is to expand the use of that condition to reflect the 21st century use and reality.
"If the use of that condition is expanded, it could be used to grant permission for the purpose of creating local homes for local people (which would be a defined term in local and/or national policy, based on consultation) as the land would be released from planning restrictions."
An extract of Al's comments was published in an article in the Financial Times. Read the article here (behind paywall).