Michael Gove plans curbs on vacation homes against Tory rebellion

It has been alleged that the government will make it harder for new properties to be converted into vacation homes as part of an attempt to fend off the Tory rebellion because of planning rules.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove is currently meeting with a group of about 60 Conservative lawmakers who oppose plans for mandated centrally set targets to build 300,000 homes a year.

One of the measures taken into account are restrictions on properties built in popular tourist destinations.

This could see building owners being forced to submit “change of use” planning applications to the municipality if they wish to rent the buildings to short-term visitors.

Mr. Gove is also preparing to sanction contractors who delay construction on land they already own with planning permission.

This could result in authorizations meaning developers lose planning permission if construction doesn’t begin within a year, The Times reported.

Other changes being considered include measures to encourage construction on abandoned sites and giving residents a new appeal against planning permission for unpopular developments.

‘Exceptional circumstances’

It appears that Mr. Gove was against the Tory rebels’ basic demand to allow local authorities to ban all scratch construction except in “exceptional circumstances”.

“They’re definitely in deal-making mode,” said a senior Tory, saying that concessions in other areas would be “wide-ranging.”

Another of the rebels said: “We are clear that this is not about stopping development, it is about stopping wrong development in the wrong areas.”

The proposed amendments to the Leveling and Renovation Bill will address criticism that coastal communities have been gutted by the rise in vacation homes.

The rebellion is led by former cabinet minister Theresa Villiers and Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely.

“There are serious concerns in the back rows”

Speaking last month, Villiers said: “There are very serious back-row concerns that top-down housing goals are undermining local decision-making in planning and advancing development that harms the environment and quality of life.”

Tory MP Paul Holmes said the Government’s goal of building 300,000 homes had “shed the blood” of many faces in local communities.

Mr. Seely said the opposition to the planning proposals had nothing to do with the election of Mr. Sunak following Liz Truss’ resignation, adding that it would be a problem no matter who was responsible.

More than 17,000 properties have been put on short-term leases in the UK since the pandemic began.

According to the Rightmove real estate website, home prices in seaside resorts rose an average of 13.9 percent last year, compared to a 9.9 percent increase nationally.

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