Federation warning on Tories’ ‘new village’ vote

Published:  17 December, 2009

LONDON: Conservative plans to create community-led bodies with planning powers to develop local homes for local people and to have defined 90% support in community referendums could hand a veto to groups of Nimbys.

The National Housing Federation warned that the 90% threshold is too high. Recent opinion polling conducted on behalf of the organisation showed that the majority of rural dwellers believe the level of local support required for new affordable housing should be far lower, at around 50-70%.

In the poll of 800 rural dwellers across England, 54% said that a threshold of 50-70% support for affordable housing should be sufficient for the new homes to get the go-ahead, whereas just 4% said 90% was the right figure.

The federation believes that the building of new homes in rural areas is crucial because of a growing rural housing crisis – with a lack of affordable homes in villages and market towns driving thousands of young people and families from the countryside to urban areas every year.

As a result of this process, many villages are increasingly becoming populated by older people, wealthy commuters and second homeowners – with record numbers of services and amenities coming under threat because of a decline in their traditional customer bases.

Federation chief executive David Orr said: "There will always be some people who oppose the idea of building any new homes and, if the threshold for a vote in favour of new affordable housing is set as high as 90%, then we believe that small groups of local Nimbys will always be able to block the proposals."

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