As further light was shedded on the ‘cash-for-planning’ scandal, journalist’s questioned whether the Conservative’s were playing a very dangerous game with the planning reforms. This area is very sensitive to Middle England, most of whom are the core Conservative voters.
How could the Tories – of all people – let developers rip out the lungs of England?
Once upon a time, the Conservative Party actually believed in conserving. At the very core of its being, it possessed a visceral desire to protect and preserve what was valuable — or indeed, invaluable — to our society. Despite its claim that the planning reforms will give local people more of a say in planning decisions, the reality is that — given the inbuilt presumption in favour of development — if local communities object to house- building, their opposition will be flattened along with the woods and hedgerows. Conservative voters have watched with dismay as the Cameroons have ridden roughshod over one conservative principle after another. However, it is in the meadows and copses of England that Mr Cameron may meet his Waterloo.
Property developers privately admitted that the minister’s objectives “align with ours” and said they had “earned more brownie points than we could ever imagine” by helping him. The minister has publicly insisted that he is introducing carefully balanced proposals taking into account both environmental and economic concerns. However, the leaked email will add to growing fears that the minister has become too close to the property industry and is working alongside developers to force through reforms.
For more information on the latest developments in the planning reform’s debates, go to this section of the Telegraph website.