Fears over permission in principle measure

A warning that the Housing and Planning Bill's permission in principle measure could see inappropriate greenfield developments forced upon communities features in today's newspaper round-up.

The Telegraph reports on the Housing and Planning Bill’s permission in principle measure. It says that "tens of thousands of new homes in greenfield areas in England will be given automatic planning permission amid fears that communities will have inappropriate developments forced on them". According to the newspaper, ministers have "quietly given developers the right to be granted ‘permission in principle’ in areas that are earmarked for new housing schemes". The newspaper adds: "Rural campaigners said the new powers will restrict the rights of council planning officers to ensure that the design, density, size and location of homes is in keeping with rural areas."

The Observer reports that the "formal recognition of Edinburgh as one of the world’s most beautiful cities is under threat amid a battle for the soul of its most historic quarter". According to the newspaper, the city was inscribed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995. It says that, following complains from the public and architectural experts over a number of new buildings, inspectors from the International Council on Monuments and Sites, which advises UNESCO, have toured several of the most contentious sites.

The Telegraph also reports that a schools minister has said that schools should be "housed in skyscrapers to cope with the boom in pupil numbers". According to the newspaper, Lord Nash said that headteachers should follow the example of schools in New York, "where extra floors are added to school buildings, and office blocks are repurposed to house additional classrooms".

The Independent reports that the Office for National Statistics has said that housing associations will now be classified as public bodies and that their liabilities therefore also belong to the public sector. According to the newspaper, the move will end up adding around £60 billion to the UK’s public debt. It says that the government will look to bring forward measures to turn housing associations back into purely private sector bodies "as soon as possible".

The Guardian reports that sub-prime mortgages, "widely blamed as the cause of the 2007/08 financial crisis, are making a surprise comeback in the UK, with several new lenders launching home loans for people with poor credit histories". The newspaper reports that several lenders are targeting people who have faced serious financial problems including repossession and bankruptcy, as well as those with minor blots on their records, as customers for the mortgages, which come with interest rates as high as 8 per cent.


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