Magazine article Public Finance

Ministers Imposing 'Stalinist' Planning Rules on Councils

Magazine article Public Finance

Ministers Imposing 'Stalinist' Planning Rules on Councils

Article excerpt

Local authorities will ignore centrally imposed house-building targets unless they have financial incentives to approve developers' plans, according to a senior government adviser.

Steve Nickell, who chairs the government's National Housing and Planning Advice Unit, this week accused ministers of imposing 'Stalinist' planning guidance on councils instead of giving them powers to raise money.

While he welcomed the proposed community infrastructure levy, Nickell said that it was being introduced too late. He also said that section 106 agreements, under which developers build affordable housing in return for planning permission, should be scrapped.

Gordon Brown pledged within days of becoming prime minister that 3 million new homes would be built in England by 2020. But Nickell, a professor in economics at Oxford University, said house building would not have slowed down so much if a straightforward system for charging developers had been in place sooner.

'Unless you give local authorities some sort of financial incentive to support house building, they are going to be against it,' he told Public Finance. …

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