Home quality urged in council bonus bid

The government has begun consultation on proposals for a financial rewards programme to incentivise local authorities to allow homes.

The new homes bonus scheme aims to encourage councils to increase supply. The sum is equal to the national average for the council tax band on each additional property and paid for the following six years as a non-ring-fenced grant.

The government is now asking whether long-term empty homes should be included in the plans, for which £1 billion has been set aside.

British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace said: "The new homes bonus sends a clear signal that communities accepting desperately needed housing will be rewarded but those that do not make that choice, will lose out."

Meanwhile, Campaign to Protect Rural England head of planning Fiona Howie said the incentives should be targeted to encourage quality design, affordability and appropriate location. "Providing incentives is part of the solution but there are risks if they are poorly conceived," she warned.

These concerns were echoed by RIBA president Ruth Reed. "The intent of the bonus is sound. However, too many badly designed housing schemes are being given planning permission. Councils need support and direction from the government to ensure that this does not continue to happen."

The new homes bonus is part of the wider incentives set out in the Local Growth white paper. The consultation ends on 24 December.

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