Big changes to the planning system that provides nearly half of England’s affordable housing were criticised on Thursday as “potentially disastrous”, as moves to radically overhaul planning also created unease among some in the Conservative ranks. Changes envisaged in a long awaited White Paper published on Thursday were criticised by the umbrella body for London councils, which joined others in warning that the amount of new affordable housing could be reduced. A fresh spotlight also fell on the Tory party’s relationship with developers as Robert Jenrick, the housing secretary, found himself once again on the defensive over a recent personal controversy involving the billionaire Richard Desmond. The publication of Planning for the Future, a plan aimed at delivering a target of 300,000 new homes a year in England, kickstarted a 12-week consultation process. Details revealed included a measure to exempt developers of smaller sites from payments to local infrastructure such as affordable housing and schools. The fees, called Section 106 payments, are often a condition for permission being granted but the proposals envisage temporarily lifting a “small sites threshold”, below which developers will not need to contribute to affordable housing, to up to 40 or 50 units. A new national… Read full this story
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