Biggest shake-up of planning laws for 70 years to be abandoned?

Barry White

Today’s Times front page reports that the government is set to ‘abandon’ its damaging proposals to deregulate the planning system see: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/29c81fb8-126d-11ec-86b8-9dcf48a101ba?shareToken=690bf04257ec02a1c4c96007a7012b99 . This was later reinforced by reports in the Guardian see: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/sep/11/ministers-to-ditch-overhaul-of-planning-laws-after-criticism and the Daily Mail see: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9979509/Biggest-change-planning-laws-Second-World-War-DROPPED-Ministers.html

The changes were supposed to help the government hit a target of 300,000 new homes annually by the middle of the decade. The need for such changes, heavily supported by developers wholesale has been questioned after they set records for housebuilding and after a backlash from voters in the June Chesham and Amersham by-election, when the government party suffered a surprise defeat by the Liberal Democrats.

It is expected that the housing secretary Robert Jenrick MP will announce a more limited set of changes. However, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “We will not comment on speculation. Our response to the consultation will be released in due course.”

Tom Fyans, the deputy chief executive of CPRE, the countryside charity, said that if the reports were correct “some of the most damaging proposals of what was a top-down developers’ charter have been rightly binned” and dubbed the move a “victory for common sense”.

He added: “The government must not shy away from overhauling a tired planning system to make it fit for the multiple challenges of the 21st century. Local communities need a stronger right to be heard in local decisions; brownfield sites must automatically be developed first to help protect local green spaces and our green belts in the fight against climate change, and young people and key workers desperately need more funding for rural affordable homes.”

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