Today’s announcement that the government will allow developers to build on brownfield land without planning permission is the latest in a series of attacks on local communities and fails to address the real problems, Liberal Democrats in Local Government have said.
Cllr Keith House, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Housing and Planning, said:
“Good planning creates great homes and communities. Abandoning planning creates un-planned sprawl, ill thought out buildings and problems for generations. Scrapping the bureaucracy that is the Planning Inspectorate would reduce the biggest delays in the planning system”
Other announcements are also causing concern for councillors who want to see more affordable homes being built:
· On Wednesday the government announced that part of the £12bn in welfare savings would be a £1.4bn saving from housing benefit by reducing rents paid to social landlords. The IFS estimate that this will mean a loss of £2.5bn to the Housing Revenue Account used by councils and housing associations for investing in new housing.
· The budget also announced that Councils will have to hand back any extra income from charging market rents to people on higher incomes instead of investing it in local housing.
· This follows the recent right-to-buy announcements to force local councils to sell off their stock in wealthy areas to pay housing association to sell of their own social housing stock.
Cllr Gerald Vernon Jackson, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, added:
“It is clear that George Osborne sees no role for local communities in tackling the shortage of affordable homes.
“What this new government seems to be missing is that the scale of the housing shortage is going to mean a concerted effort from everyone – developers, councils, housing associations, individuals – to get building the houses that local people need.
“Forcing communities to hand over assets and large swathes of land to big developers whilst running down both current social housing stock and the ability to replace it is not going to help the current generation of people who cannot afford to live in their community”.