Housing minister defends planning reforms

The housing minister has defended the government’s controversial proposals to shake up the planning system, which he said would bring about ‘systemic and cultural change’.

Speaking to the District Council’s Network yesterday (14 October), Christopher Pincher said the government had been ‘pretty successful over the last 10 years with respect to housing’.

The government first revealed its plans to reform the planning system in August, after claiming the current system ‘sluggish’ and ‘outdated’.

But some of the proposals have met with fierce criticism from some Conservative backbenchers and the Local Government Association.

And earlier this month, the housing, communities and local government committee launched a new inquiry to investigate the proposals.

Mr Pincher said that current local plans ‘do not provide for the ambition we have’, which is to build 300,000 new homes each year.

‘We also need to make sure that we are building homes in the right places to meet our wider aspirations to level up the country,’ the minister added.

‘Anybody that’s been engaged in the planning process, and you have been more closely engaged than most, will recognise the present system is essentially opaque, very difficult to navigate, is slow, and is analogue.

‘We want a system which is more productive and strategic and upfront rather than one which is rear-guard,’ said the minister.

‘We want one as well which delivers infrastructure where it is needed upfront and in a way that local communities can really buy into.’

Mr Pincher also added there will be ‘lots’ of opportunities for people to get involved, for stakeholders to provide their thoughts on how to can make the new planning system work well and be rolled out quickly.

‘Crucially, we want to make sure that the new system of planning engenders beautiful design where local communities have a real say in what their built environment is going to look like,’ said the minister.

Photo Credit — Ahundt (Pixabay)


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