The Government’s proposed ‘Community Right to Build’ system, designed to speed-up small-scale developments, may in fact have the opposite effect, a leading trade organisation has warned.
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has argued that the approval threshold for Community Right to Build referenda is too high.
Currently, 90% of local people have back a development for it to proceed. The FMB warns that minorities could “hold back much needed development” as a result.
Brian Berry, director of external affairs, said: “The Government’s intention to give communities the right to grant themselves planning permission is welcome but there is a real danger that the stipulation that no more than 10% of voters object to any proposal in a local referendum will hand a tiny minority the ability to decide the future of the community without themselves having had to achieve any kind of mandate to do so.
“The objectors would not, as things stand, be subject to any need to justify their objection and as such the ‘right to build’ that the Government wishes to grant communities may be taken away by a handful of unaccountable people who cannot, or will not, accept the need for change.”
Berry added: “To make the right to build a success communities need to have the power to deliver enough housing to secure their medium and long term futures and it is very unlikely that this will happen unless the 10% objection referendum threshold is significantly raised.
“Most referenda are decided by a simple majority and if the Government wants local communities to exercise their right to build, they will have to consider something more in line with normal referendum practice.”