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What has been done regarding Negative impacts of Covid-19 on the delivery of rural affordable housing?

The Rural Services Network (RSN), Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) and Rural Housing Alliance (RSN) have written to Robert Jenrick – Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government expressing concerns about the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the delivery of rural affordable Housing.

The concerns relate to authorities ability to meet Housing Delivery Targets and the ability to maintain a five-year housing land supply as required by National Planning Policy Guidelines (NPPG). The letter suggest proposed changes to the NPPG as temporary mitigating measures.

Bearing in mind the threats posed by the longer-term impacts of Covid-19 on rural affordable housing delivery and Neighbourhood Plans we offered the four following temporary mitigating measures.

  1. Give a longer time for Action Plans to run before the HDT is judged not to have been met, with clear criteria that allow MHCLG to assess whether a LPA has used its best endeavours to improve delivery; including the factors that are preventing house-builders from playing their part.
  2. Postpone the introduction of the 75% threshold for the HDT, planned for November 2020. Instead retain the 2019 threshold for the next 2-3 years.
  3. Extend the current 5YHLS requirement to a 7 YHLS over the next two years. This would allow LPAs to evaluate delivery on individual sites without undermining the land supply position and take account of the fact that in a supressed housing market it will take longer for sites to come forward.
  4. That for two years there is a relaxation of the criteria under which NDPs can withstand development that is not in conformity with their policies – perhaps extending the qualifying length of time over which the NDP has been made from two to four years and removing the other two criteria (NPPF para 14).

If you would like to discuss further, please contact Sunila Osborne, Rural Housing Enabler, sunila.osborne@communityactionsuffolk.org.uk