To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the percentage of small rural communities that do not meet the “designated rural areas” definition in section 157 of the 1985 Housing Act used in the consultation Changes to the current planning system, published on 6 August.
National planning policy makes it clear that in rural areas, housing development that reflects local needs should be supported, and that affordable housing can be sought for residential developments that are not major developments in designated rural areas. Our consultation on changes to the current planning system does not propose to change this overall approach. To aid small and medium-sized (SME) builders through economic recovery, we are consulting on a proposal to increase the current threshold at which affordable housing contributions can be collected on new developments. The higher threshold will only be in place for a time limited period, and will not apply to designated rural areas. By raising the threshold, we are ensuring that sites that may not have been developed due to viability issues will now go ahead creating the homes our country needs. The Government has not set out a definition of small rural communities in national planning policy, but is keen to work with rural stakeholders as part of the consultation.