Labour has committed itself to fighting the Government’s overhaul of the planning system, amid fears that large swathes of middle England will be concreted over. Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Mary Creagh, the shadow environment secretary, set out a number of changes that Labour wanted to see made to the controversial draft National Planning Policy Framework. The party now joins the National Trust, Countryside Alliance and the Women’s Institute in demanding changes to the draft new planning rules.
Labour has committed itself to fighting the Government’s overhaul of the planning system, amid fears that large swathes of middle England will be concreted over. Ms Creagh said the framework should be amended so that it reinstates a requirement that previously-developed brownfield sites are developed ahead of greenfield areas. Labour also wants ministers to define in law what is meant by “sustainable development” to avoid housing developers exploiting the plan.
The value of properties will be driven down by the Government’s planning reforms, council officials have warned. The Planning Officers’ Society (POS) has told ministers their proposals will mean homes are “blighted” by the prospect of new developments in their areas. The society, which represents senior planning officers and managers for local councils, also said the supposedly pro-growth rules would make it harder for companies to do business and create jobs.
David Cameron has assured the National Trust that he believes “sustainable development has environmental and social dimensions as well as an economic dimension” (report, September 21). His comment is consistent with the Government’s Natural Environment White Paper. But it is contrary to the draft planning policy, which makes the interests of developers paramount. The developer can repeatedly submit applications with minor changes, and most applications are eventually approved.