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Put neighbours in charge of new housing, argues think tank

Local residents should be given control over the developments they see in their own streets, according to a new report.

The report by Policy Exchange calls for the devolution of planning permission to individual street level, in a way that ‘shares the benefits with existing residents and communities’.

‘We propose that residents of a street should be able to agree by a high majority on new strict rules for designs to make better use of their plots,’ the report states.

‘A street of suburban bungalows, for example, could agree on the right to create Georgian-style terraces. In many cases, an adopted ‘street plan’ would greatly increase the value of residents’ homes, giving them strong reasons to agree on it.’

According to the report, such a policy could lead to a further 110,000 homes being built each year for the next 15 years, all with the consent of the existing residents, and none requiring ‘a single inch of greenfield or greenbelt land’.

It adds that on streets which agree to allow ‘typical forms of gentle intensification’, the average participating homeowner would make £900,000, while the local authority would get an average of £79,000 for every new property delivered.

‘Policy Exchange has led the debate on empowering communities, winning support for development, and creating beautiful popular homes,’ said housing secretary, Robert Jenrick.

‘The government supports enabling communities to set their own rules for what developments in their area should look like, ensuring that they reflect and enhance their surroundings and preserve our cherished local heritage, and Policy Exchange is continuing this vital conversation.’

Photo Credit – Pexels (Pixabay)

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