MP proposes street plans bill that would see neighbourhoods overrule councils

Plans for new housing in North Somerset

Council leaders say they have been backed into a corner and are being forced to build 20,000 homes across North Somerset. - Credit: Archant

Residents could cash in, help tackle the housing crisis and generate £9billion a year for the Chancellor under new powers being drawn up by Weston’s MP. 

John Penrose has proposed a bill that would allow individual neighbourhoods to overrule their local council and take things into their own hands to get houses built. 

He said with democratically backed 'street plans' neighbours would be able to protect green fields by giving builders 'lots of new, convenient urban sites to develop and improve'.

And people would be able to modify their homes according to the new plans if they wanted to, without needing any further planning permissions. 

Writing on Conservative Home, Mr Penrose said: “Everyone agrees we have a massive housing shortage, and that it’s making homes unaffordably expensive to rent or buy for far too many people. 

“Outside city centres, most of us are unimpressed by high-rise towers. Outside towns and villages, almost no-one likes building on green fields. So why is agreeing what to build where so hard?

“One way to make it less difficult is to think local. I’ve just proposed a private members bill in Parliament which lets individual streets or neighbourhoods take things into their own hands.

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“If they don’t like their local council’s plans, they could create their own instead.”

Mr Penrose said an estimated 15.5 million home-owning families would be eligible for street votes, and even if only a fraction of them decide to go ahead 'it could transform the ones that do, and create a surge of economic growth into the bargain'.

He added: “From the Chancellor’s viewpoint, that means more VAT, more income tax, more corporation tax, and more national insurance contributions – without higher tax rates.

“If we want to level up properly, we need growth to fund it. Street votes can be one way to let communities and neighbourhoods level themselves up, along with the rest of the country.” 

His private members bill builds on work by the Create Streets Foundation, which aims to 'co-create beautiful, sustainable, prosperous, economically and socially successful places with strong local support'.

That could mean extensions or complete rebuilds to create a higher density of housing – potentially creating up to 1.8million new average sized homes. 

The report says homeowners would want at least £150,000 each in profit to make the inconvenience worthwhile.  

It said: “Street votes, by aligning homeowners’, residents’ and developers’ interests, offer the potential to unleash substantial additional economic growth, along with increased government income.” 

The bill will have its second reading on December 3.

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