New Homes Bonus

The Government has defended its plan to scrap strict house-building targets in England as they “antagonised communities” and generated “thousands of objections”.

Ministers, on Thursday 23rd June, responded to a Select Committee report published in March 2011 claiming the abolition of regional house-building plans in England put the economic recovery at risk.

The previous Labour government sanctioned Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS) that called for hundreds of thousands of homes to be built including the 37,000 now being promoted by the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) that has been adopted by the local authorities that make up the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP).

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) dismissed suggestions from the cross party committee of MP’s that a “vacuum at the heart of the English planning system” was emerging.  In its formal written response the Government said that the strategies were prepared by “unelected bodies” (just like the GNDP) were “highly controversial” and generated “thousands of objections”.

“This resulted in long delays and meant that regional strategies did not provide certainty for communities or investors,” it added.  The plans “antagonised communities” and led to house building rates falling to their lowest peacetime levels since 1942, it is claimed.

The Government said, “Rather than unaccountable and remote bodies, the Government believes that it is local authorities and communities that should decide the level and distribution of growth in their areas”.  The Governments £1 billion New Homes Bonus, which began in April 2011, replaced the RSS.  Whitehall promises to match council tax raised from new homes for six years – money that can be used to cut council tax or invest in front line services to overcome local opposition.

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said:

“The evidence is clear – top down targets simply haven’t worked.”

So there we have it yet GNDP insist on ploughing ahead to build thousands of houses that were targeted by the previous Government and now cancelled by the current Government!  Why?

Well we believe that the local authorities of the GNDP have used the prospect of the New Homes Bonus to guarantee additional income from central government, which combined with the additional council tax from the new homes, will enable them to uphold the promise they made last year, before the District Council elections in May this year, not to raise Council Taxes for the next two years.

The result of this is that they have all been re-elected however we in the community have to endure 37,000 additional new homes with all of the added pressures on the infrastructure so that the councils can stick to their promise.  Had the feeling you’ve been conned!


  1. It is a sad fact that there are people out there (quite a lot of them) who will vote for whichever party offers the lowest council tax. They think about nothing else but money, and will endorse policies that will wreck everyone's environment for the sake of save a few quid a month. Broadland seems to have more than its fair share of these people!

  2. Isnt the new homes bonus the Governments way of encouraging more houses to be built than under the old system of regional plans?

  3. Looks like the future is a Proxy Server to post ???

  4. The GNDP never listened to the Parish Councils or the residents in the NE Triangle. I wonder if they will listen to the comments from the Government. I suppose we could live in hope ?

  5. edith crowther30 June 2011 at 16:38

    There's a planning blog which says the CPRE are saying the New Homes Bonus could be illegal.

    The article, back in February, consults a few planning lawyers who have mixed opinions and are cagey, staying in the safe place of "it depends on the facts of the matter".

    But these are Planning Lawyers, who know little if any Enviromental Law, especially at EU and UN level. It strikes me that the New Housing Bonus could well infringe the new Bribery Act 2010, as well as various anti-corruption sections of housing and planning statutes.

    The Bribery Act 2010 is very usefully worded, because it means you cannot offer a bonus or an incentive which causes the recipient to break a law. And there are a lot of environmental laws being broken by developers all the time, even without any Bonuses - it is just that they don't get prosecuted. The laws on Nitrogen Dioxide emissions are now so draconian, that I do not see how any new road or new housing of over 10 or 20 homes can be legal on this count alone.

    New homes already have the bonus of not being subject to VAT as other new stuff is. That is more than enough of a leg-up for something that is rarely "sustainable" in an over-developed country.

  6. At Broadland District Council tonight they voted on how to spend the bonus accrued in the past year £180k. Cabinet proposal was to stick it in reserves, Liberals (Roper & Starling) proposed investing it in bringing disused houses back into use. Common sense says Liberals were right good for housing, less need for development and economic growth - but of course the tories won the vote

  7. Tories win votes time after time simply because they play on peoples selfishness and greed. Their whole ethos is based upon money without a hint of ethics or morals. The Conservative led Broadland Council are more than happy to destroy our countryside and our rural lifestyle by building thousands of speculative houses so that their developer friends can make piles of money. This destruction of the countryside can best be described as "rape of the countryside".
    The 'Spin' they put on this is, "Homes, Jobs and prosperity".
    The tories always make sure there are jobs for the boys and plenty of prosperity for their mates.

  8. If more houses are needed as some people make out then Norwich Council should build houses on the disused training site on Swanton Road near the old city works. This site has been empty for years and is not just an eyesore but a disgrace to a city calling itself "Fine".
    There are also dozens of other brownfield sites scattered about Norwich that could and should be used. Using these site for new houses would alleviate the necessity for people to use cars. Thus the affect on the environment would be minute compared to building an urban sprawl stretching out into the countryside where people would have to drive to and from work.