We finally saw the Government’s planning reforms, sneaked out at midnight on a Wednesday, just before the start of the summer holidays.
And they weren’t joking, were they? They are indeed some of “the most radical reforms of our planning system since the end of the Second World War”.
“Any loss of local control and accountability over development is unacceptable”
It is very rare that you unite politicians from across the political divide and, at the same time, bring together the Town and Country Planning Association, the Royal Institute of British Architects, Shelter, CPRE (the countryside charity), and the Wildlife Trust – and even upset the Association of Archaeologists – in opposition to a government proposal
Let us make it nice and clear to ministers – any loss of local control and accountability over development is unacceptable. It would deprive communities of the ability to define the places in which they live, as well as give developers freedom to ride roughshod over local areas. And we all know how ministers stand up to developers – not!
I am not apologising for going on about planning again, but these changes will result in affordable housing provision dropping by 20 per cent, with new developments up to 50 homes no longer having to provide any.
Yet again, ministers are blaming others – in this case, local government – for failings in their own policies and procedures, which we know are what really slow down the delivery of housing.
Maybe it’s not about increasing the supply of homes and tackling waiting lists, but who you sit next to at a fundraising dinner.
Ministers, put your own house in order first!