Planning reforms: 'misguided and flawed'

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By Neil Sinden
2nd November 2020

Planning reforms proposed by the Government in a recent White Paper have come under attack from a wide range of organisations.

As the formal consultation process ends, many groups including CPRE have criticised the proposals as misguided and flawed for failing to understand the vital role played by the planning system in delivering environmentally sustainable development that meets the needs of local communities. They also risk seriously reducing the longstanding and critical democratic nature of planning by undermining effective public involvement in policy and decision-making processes.  As it stands, local communities will have a say about whether their area becomes a ‘Growth’, ‘Renewal’ or ‘Protected’ zone. But, unlike under the current system, they would then have no say on the individual developments that take place in those zones or on their doorsteps, resulting in an unacceptable loss of local democracy in the planning process.

At CPRE London, we believe that a strong, democratic planning system is an essential component of sustainable development, community cohesion and a healthy environment.   A fundamental rethink is required if we are to meet the need for more affordable housing by making better use of existing developed land and protect and increase quality green space – both vital for the future of London.  We have recently written to MPs in the capital urging them to persuade the Government to think again and have contributed to CPRE’s national response to the White Paper which can be downloaded below.

CR_Planning White Paper_Full CPRE response _291020_FINAL VERSION

Concerns have also focused on the so-called ‘housing algorithm’ that would dictate how many homes are built across England and where. As well as being unfit for purpose, these centralised targets have been determined without input from the local authorities and communities who know their areas best.  The resulting housing figures for London are hugely overinflated and take no account of realistic capacity or the emerging new London Plan.  They would fail to deliver genuinely affordable housing for those in need and would place our precious green spaces, including the Metropolitan Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land, at serious risk of development.

Please support our campaign to persuade the Government to go back to the drawing board by joining us or making a donation.