Councillor Andrew Steed claims planning system increasingly biased
Gary Malcolm and Andrew Steed campaign against another tower block plan
I have written about planning issues before and how the current system is increasingly biased against residents. In many ways you would have thought a Conservative Government would be in favour of local authorities making decisions locally: that they would be against huge new developments that have the potential to change the character of an area.
Historically the Conservative party has been against top-down planning rules and against targets for new builds.
However over recent years there has been a chipping away of the ability of local authorities to oppose developments, with decisions ultimately made on a regional basis or with appeals to the Secretary of State.
New proposals which are expected to be presented in a Bill this autumn change the fundamentals of UK planning law, with the introduction of 'zoning'. Land will be designated as zoned for growth, renewal, or protection. If you live in a growth zone, your right to object to individual developments disappears.
It is no wonder that ex-Prime Minister Teresa May has referred to the plans as ‘a developers charter'. The Homebuilding & Renovating magazine agrees, saying the bill 'makes it more difficult for Councils and homeowners to block new housing schemes'.
Conservatives defend the proposals by criticising local authorities, despite nine out of ten planning applications being approved. Conservatives talk about wishing to solve a housing crisis, which is particularly acute in London. But will these proposals help? I would argue that they do nothing to help the housing crisis.
Liberal Democrats say what is needed is targeted investment in social housing, no more grubby deals where developers build a minimum of 'genuinely affordable housing' that is nothing of the sort.
Cllr Andrew Steed – Liberal Democrat Councillor on Ealing Council
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June 13, 2021