So why is the Community Right to Build a good idea, at least in principle?
Well, generally speaking the only way to add development to villages under the present planning system is under a Rural Exception Policy, a clause in the prevailing Local Plan that will allow the building of homes outside a settlement’s Development Boundary only if they are affordable homes – defined by the relevant clauses of the Local Plan or other local Housing Policy. Under CRTB other uses would also be permitted – business space, community facilities, even open-market housing – which must surely, if the scheme takes off, bring forward more sites than would currently be put forward as Rural Exceptions, increasing the supply of affordable homes where they are needed by local people.
Secondly, as seems obvious to most ‘normal’ people (i.e. not those responsible hitherto for devising national and local planning guidelines), ‘spreading out’ new development across an area’s smaller settlements will not only reduce the need for ugly and disruptive new ‘urban extensions’ adjacent to larger market towns, it will benefit the smaller settlements by allowing existing residents to stay in a village and even bringing ‘new blood’ to sustain its social infrastructure and services. And thirdly, the process of conceiving, envisioning and getting the necessary local support for a CRTB development will empower local communities and increase a village’s sense of civic pride.
It’s a no brainer, surely…?