Real estate

High Court overturns relaxation of housebuilders' planning rules

The High Court has dealt a blow to government attempts to liberalise the planning system by forcing it to reverse plans to relax the rules for small housebuilders. Local councils can require developers to include some housing priced at below market level on their schemes or in some cases pay an equivalent sum in cash. Last November the coalition lifted that responsibility for sites of 10 homes or fewer, in a move intended to make the financial cost to small developers less onerous. But in a survey carried out by the Local Government Association, nearly 80% of councils said the measures constrained the construction of new low-cost homes. Reading and West Berkshire councils took the government to court in an effort to reverse the change; and Mr Justice Holgate quashed the policy on Friday, saying it was 'incompatible' with the existing statutory planning framework. The DCLG is seeking leave to appeal against the decision.


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