Don't be just bricks and mortar blinkered, says Minister

Housing Minister to give more powers for communities to choose boats on water alongside bricks and mortar
By Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Housing Minister Grant Shapps urged local authorities on August 27, 2011 not to become landlocked in their quest to meet local housing needs – but to consider how new powers restoring local control over housing provision and planning can enable people to choose boats on water alongside bricks and mortar. 

Mr. Shapps said that more people than ever are choosing to make a boat their home and that boats with residential moorings could be an example of how unconventional housing can allow people to live in areas of the country where perhaps they couldn't afford to do so otherwise. 

And as new moorings could be eligible for the New Homes Bonus, the Minister said that there was a strong incentive for councils and communities to grant planning permission for more residential moorings. The money that they receive could be invested in new marina facilities or waterside recreational activities that everyone could benefit from, as well as being used to attract further private investment and drive the regeneration of the often-Brownfield land around parts of the country's waterways. 

Half the population live within five miles one of Britain's waterways and so not just those living on the water could benefit from the fresh injection of funding; water based recreation and tourism is thought to generate over £1billion for local economies, and supports 24,000 jobs. 

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© 2011