Claims over the Government’s planning reforms were brought into doubt today, following evidence released by the CPRE. This shows that developers have the planning permission to build 300,000 homes but are being held back not due to over-zealous planning laws, due to a lack of capital. This evidence tells us once again that there is not the need for such a liberalisation of this area of policy. Simplify the system, yes! But don’t encourage a development free for all. It’s not needed, its not necessary, and its not wanted.
The Telegraph today questioned the claim made by David Cameron, ministers and development companies, that the NPPF can be used as a tool to revive England from its current housing slump. The article cites evidence collected by the CPRE which estimates that there is currently enough land owned by developers, with planning permission already granted, to build 330,000 homes. With more than two years worth of land on which construction has yet to start the obvious implication is that it is not the planning system, but economic factors which are responsible for the housing slump.
Despite the growing storm around the NPPF draft Eric Pickles has insisted that the Government’s ‘simplification’ of the planning system will bring all round improvements. He refers to the original housing argument, discussed above, and further describes the NPPF reforms as the way to a democratic future. But when talking about ‘the local plans that councils draw up together with residents will hold greater sway than ever’, he fails to mention the 70% of councils that are currently without such plans – allowing a free-for all for developers in these areas.