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NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR AUTHORITY'S POLICIES ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING

This is an archived press release

Monday 5 July 2004

5 July 2004

NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR AUTHORITY'S POLICIES ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The Peak District National Park Authority's pioneering policy on protecting affordable housing for local needs is helping other National Parks around the UK develop their own strategies.

Exmoor National Park Authority - which modelled its new affordable housing policy on the Peak District's - has just won backing from an independent Planning Inspector who will recommend it for government approval.

The Inspector's letter states: "I accept that the experience of the Peak District National Park Authority gives good reason to think that this is a practical approach for Exmoor."

Adrian Brown, Chair of the Peak District National Park Authority's policy committee, said: "We're extremely pleased that an inspector has supported an approach based on the direction we're taking. There are some new policies in Exmoor's plan we will be thinking about for our policy review."

With house prices soaring beyond the reach of many people born and brought up in such beautiful areas, several National Parks have followed similar approaches.

Through the use of agreements the Peak District National Park Authority aims to restrict occupancy of newly-built homes to people with strong local connections - such as 10 years residence in the past 20 - in perpetuity. This has the effect of keeping prices around 37 per cent below open market levels. Homes must also be modest in size to retain affordability.

New homes for the open market are generally only allowed if they are conversions of existing buildings within settlements or enhancements of derelict sites - in order to protect the landscape which makes the National Park so attractive.

The Authority also works closely with other local authorities, parishes and social housing providers to encourage more homes for rent or shared ownership (part mortgage, part rent).

Alison Clamp, development officer for the Peak District Rural Housing Association, said: "The National Park Authority's policies are as helpful as they can be to organisations like us, and I think the message is getting across to the general public about development land being restricted to affordable housing."

Adrian Brown added: "We must stress that we don't have all the answers and - in common with many areas around the country - there are not enough affordable homes for local people. This is a national issue and we are striving to influence the Government to develop new national policies.

"Moreover we are not a housing authority and so cannot build homes. However, we can develop and refine planning policies to encourage more affordable housing, provide guidance for developers and work with other agencies to address the issue and identfiy sites for schemes."

People seeking information and advice about affordable housing can contact the housing department of their local council to discuss their needs. The Authorities will also be able to put people in touch with housing associations.

Officers of the National Park Authority are also happy to discuss ideas about providing new housing - for more information contact the Authority on 01629 816200.

This is an archived press release

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