At a time when many Government Ministers are entering into reasoned discussions about planning reforms, with even Eric Pickles offering reassurances, Francis Maude instead resorted to hurling abuses and insults. But what is infinitely more important to us is the revelation that strict rules compelling house builders to include affordable homes in private developments will be scrapped under the government’s controversial changes to the planning system. The revelation has raised fresh questions about the proposals, which ministers claim are vital for tackling the housing crisis.
Senior Conservative cabinet minister Francis Maude today describes opposition to the Government’s controversial planning reforms – from the National Trust and Tory grassroots – as “b****cks”, and says he has no sympathy for their position.
The National Housing Federation, which represents England’s housing associations and has been broadly supportive of the framework, warned that the combined impact of the measures will represent a major setback for affordable home building. It said more than half of the 50,000 affordable homes built each year in England are built under section 106 agreements, worth more than £2bn annually. There are also concerns that a reduction in mixed housing developments will see poorer people “ghettoised” in less attractive areas.
Eric Pickles went out to reassure the tory heartland at the Conservative Party Conference this weekend. In an attempt to answer their concerns he promised those present that he was determined to protect green-belt land, and create a “brand new local protection for green spaces. This can safeguard the likes of playing fields, bowling greens and village greens.”
You can read his full speech here.