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'Boles’ Bungs' will not be enough to buy off NIMBYs'

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'Boles’ Bungs' will not be enough to buy off NIMBYs'

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Development

Boles’ Bungs will not be enough to buy off NIMBYs Boles’ Bungs will not be enough to buy off NIMBYs

The planning minister, Nick Boles, last week announced plans to offer local people cash incentives for community projects if they allow new housing to be built in their areas. But will the "Boles' Bung" actually work? Tim Pinder, CEO at Peaks & Plains Housing Trust, doesn't think so...

Nick Boles might be the Planning Minister rather than the Housing Minister, but he seems to be leading the debate on Housing. Before Christmas it was about the Green Belt and “pig ugly” housing design. Last night on Newsnight it was his claims that the housing shortage was a threat to social justice and “immoral” that young people are being priced out of the housing market.

In his characteristically high energy manner he was keen to share his latest idea; offering 25% of the Community Infrastructure Levy to communities to spend on “what they want”.

Will that be enough to unblock NIMBY opposition to affordable housing in rural villages? I don’t think so. In our experience at Peaks & Plains Housing Trust, the sheer deep- rooted, raw emotional prejudice to affordable housing and its occupants that exists in too many villages is not capable of being bought off by the self- styled “Boles Bung.” They will reject a rational response to an emotional argument. When opponents talk of people having to earn their right to live in their village or referring to social housing tenants as “scum”, they are unlikely to rub their hands at the prospect of money for a new community centre roof.

Arguably the CIL idea is just the latest in a long line of gimmicks that started and was sustained through Grant Shapps era as Housing Minister.

Whilst he may be proposing the wrong solution; at least Nick Boles’ arguments seem to be getting sharper. In today’s Telegraph he talks of Grandparents facing retirement “propping up their kids and grandkids” unless they agree to support new development that would make housing more affordable

He may of course be on the right track; given his insiders’ knowledge. After all he confesses that he too was a NIMBY once.

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