By Claire West

The National Housing Federation has welcomed the Localism Bill for giving local councils and communities greater scope to shape development in their area.

The Government's decision to drop the threshold for getting a new housing development approved by local people from 75% in favour to a simple majority of more than 50% was a victory for common sense, it said.

Few if any schemes would have been approved under the previous threshold for the Community Right to Build scheme, which the Federation had warned could become a Nimbys' charter.

The Federation said the Localism Bill and the new National Planning Framework must now ensure councils develop plans to meet acute housing need as soon as possible. In preparing these plans, councils need to base their housing numbers and five-year land supply on robust assessments of housing need.

Councils should also be required to set out how they intend to meet the need identified by future housing development, including the proportion of affordable and social rented housing that they intend to develop.

Federation chief executive David Orr said: "The Government's announcement that the threshold for approving community right to build schemes will be reduced to a simple majority of more than 50% is a great victory for common sense.

"We believe very few, if any, schemes, would have been approved under the previous threshold of 75%. Winning a simple majority of votes will give community organisations and housing associations a greater chance of getting affordable homes built for local people.

"The Government must now ensure that new neighbourhood and local plans set out how each community will accept its fair share of new homes, including specific numbers of homes and land suitable for development.

"In the meantime, the Government should immediately introduce the proposed presumption in favour of sustainable development to ensure much-needed new homes are delivered."