New homes crackdown on ‘Nimby councils’ – Sajid Javid
“Nimby councils” in England that fail to build enough new homes could be stripped of planning powers, Housing Secretary Sajid Javid has warned.
The government says councils will be told how many homes a year they must build and a failure to do so will see independent inspectors step in.
Mr Javid told the Sunday Times he would be “breathing down” the necks of local authorities to ensure targets are met.
However, Labour accused the government of “eight years of failure on housing”.
On Monday, the government will announce an overhaul of planning rules in an attempt to increase the rate of house building in England.
A new planning policy framework will contain new rules to determine how many homes councils must build – taking into account local house prices, wages and key worker numbers.
Higher targets will be set for areas where house prices outstrip annual earnings.
“For the first time it will explicitly take into account the market prices,” Mr Javid told the Sunday Times.
“If you are in an area where the unaffordability ratio is much higher you will have to build even more. It will make clear to councils that this number is a minimum, not a maximum.”
He said councils would also be held to account on house-building promises they make.
Mr Javid said councils that fail to meet targets will be stripped of the right to decide what is built within their boundaries, with inspectors making decisions instead.
Nimby – short for “not in my backyard” – is a term that originated in the US but became popular in the UK from the 1980s to describe people who routinely object to any proposed development near their homes that might affect property values.
It is not often applied to towns or councils as a whole but Mr Javid said his new rules were designed to stop “Nimby councils that don’t really want to build the homes their local community needs” from fudging the numbers in their area.
“We have a housing crisis in this country. We need a housing revolution,” he added.
Mr Javid also revealed plans to build up to five new towns between Oxford and Cambridge.
“Along that corridor there’s an opportunity to build at least four or five garden towns and villages with thousands of homes,” he added.
It comes after Prime Minister Theresa May last month declared it her “personal mission to build the homes this country needs so we can restore the dream of home ownership”.
In November, Chancellor Philip Hammond abolished stamp duty on homes up to £300,000 for first-time buyers.
However, John Healey, Labour’s shadow housing minister, said Mr Javid’s “year-old policy” showed the government has “no proper plan to fix the housing crisis”.
“Eight years of failure on housing is the fault of Whitehall, not town halls,” he said.
“Since 2010, home ownership has fallen to a 30-year low, rough sleeping has more than doubled, and the number of new homes being built still hasn’t recovered to pre-recession levels.”