Responding to new government guidance published today to help restart the housing market, Cllr David Renard, Housing spokesman for the Local Government Association, said:
“It is good that government has brought forward measures to ensure that planning departments can continue to operate effectively within current public health guidelines.
“We are pleased it has also acted on our calls by increasing flexibility on publicity requirements for planning applications and providing a clear steer to the Planning Inspectorate to make greater use of virtual technology and written submissions so that councils can quickly get Local Plans in place to support economic recovery.
“Flexibility on construction site working hours needs to be negotiated on a site by site basis with councils so that they can consider the impact on local residents, many of whom will be at home all day, including for work purposes, due to current coronavirus measures.
“The Government needs to go further by allowing councils at least five years to spend Right to Buy receipts to avoid the coronavirus crisis exacerbating the current shortage of social housing. Councils also need to be able to keep 100 per cent of receipts, set discounts locally and increase the proportion of receipts that can be used to meet the cost of replacement homes.
“This is critical if we are to get building again as we begin the national recovery.”