The government will make it harder for new properties to be turned into holiday homes as part of an attempt to see off a Tory rebellion over planning rules, it has been claimed.
Michael Gove, the Housing Secretary, is currently in talks with a group of around 60 Conservative MPs who are opposed to plans for mandatory centrally set targets to build 300,000 homes a year.
One of the measures being considered would see restrictions placed on properties built in popular tourist locations.
This could see owners being forced to submit “change of use” planning applications to the council if they want to let buildings to short-term visitors.
Mr Gove is also preparing to impose sanctions on developers who delay building on land that they already own with planning permission.
This could result in powers that mean developers lose planning permission if building does not start within a year, The Times reports.
Other amendments under consideration include measures to incentivise construction on brownfield sites, and giving residents a new right of appeal against planning permission for unpopular developments.
Mr Gove is understood to be opposed to the Tory rebels’ central demand to allow local authorities to ban all greenfield developments other than in “exceptional circumstances”.
One senior Tory said concessions in other areas would be “far-reaching”, adding: “They are definitely in deal-making mode.”
Another of the rebels said: “We’re clear this is not about stopping development but stopping the wrong development in the wrong areas.”
Proposed changes to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will address criticism that coastal communities are being hollowed out by a surge in holiday homes.
The rebellion has been led by the former cabinet minister Theresa Villiers and Bob Seely, MP for the Isle of Wight.
'Very serious concern on the backbenches'
Speaking last month, Ms Villiers said: “There is very serious concern on the backbenches that top-down housing targets are undermining local decision-making in planning and pushing through development which damages the environment and quality of life."
Tory MP Paul Holmes said the Government’s target to build 300,000 homes made the “blood drain” from many faces in local communities.
Mr Seely said opposition to the planning proposals had no connection with the election of Mr Sunak following the resignation of Liz Truss, adding it would be an issue for whoever was in charge.
More than 17,000 properties in England have become short-term lets since the pandemic began.
House prices in seaside resorts rose by 13.9 per cent on average last year compared with a national rise of 9.9 per cent, according to the property website Rightmove.