Tories signal homes figure

Local housing targets would be set using figures proposed by councils during the regional planning process should the Conservatives win next year's general election.

The interim measure would be applied while local authorities draw up local development frameworks. Concerns have been raised about a potential lack of council guidance once regional plans are abolished under a Tory government.

Speaking at a Places for People fringe event on housing policy at the Conservative Party conference this week, shadow planning minister Bob Neill said: "There is the solution of using the housing figures in the regional spatial strategies (RSSs) proposed by local authorities."

Conservative communities spokesman John Howell told Planning that targets will be needed to allay housing industry fears but insisted that local authorities will set these. "Most councils will take the option one targets from the RSS as the most convenient because they drew them up," he said.

In a speech outlining the Tories' housing policies, shadow housing minister Grant Shapps pledged to create "a nation of homebuilders". Villages would be given powers to expand by up to ten per cent over ten years via local housing trusts.

Shapps also reiterated Conservative plans to encourage house building by matching council tax revenue from the new homes for six years. "At last people will be able to shape their own communities," he said.

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