4th Aug, 2020

Countryside campaigners in Warwickshire hit out at PM Boris Johnson's planning proposals

Ian Hughes 5th Jul, 2020

CUTTING red tape will only result in poor quality homes say countryside campaigners in Warwickshire.

CPRE Warwickshire (Campaign to Protect Rural England) say the prime minister’s ‘New Deal’ planning proposals makes a mockery of the government’s alleged green ambitions.

Commenting on Boris Johnson’s plans to deregulate the planning system, Tom Fyans, the charity’s policy and campaigns director, said: “Deregulated planning and cutting red tape simply won’t deliver better quality homes. It’s already far too easy to build bad ones.

“Our research has shown that three quarters of large housing developments are mediocre or poor in their design and should never have been given planning permission.

“And transferring decision making from local councils and communities, and handing it over to developers is the exact opposite of better building.

“The best way to deliver the places that we need and at the pace that we need them, is by making it easier for local councils to get their plans in place and when they have done that hold the developers to those plans.

“There is a glimmer of hope, a faint glimmer, in the prime minister’s words when he says that there is to be priority for building on brownfield sites over greenfield, but if we are to truly build better houses then the voices of local communities must be heard in shaping the places where future generations will live”

“With road building at its heart, the prime minister’s ‘New Deal’ makes a mockery of the government’s so-called green recovery. The government must show real ambition and build better, not worse, and in so doing balance our health and wellbeing and that of the countryside in the economic recovery”.

“We should not even begin to go down the path of a £27billion spending spree on roads. That money could be far better spent on connecting towns and villages with low carbon public transport, shoring up rural economies and businesses hard hit by the coronavirus and investing in genuinely affordable and well-designed housing.

“The prime minister has pledged to ‘build at the pace that this moment requires’, which strikes fear into the hearts of those who understand the benefits of a plan-led system. Rushing through poor quality development is the antithesis of building better. We already know, from painful experience, that a rush for development trades off poor quality homes and infrastructure for quick and easy economic growth. This trade off isn’t necessary. It’s already far too easy to build poor quality homes, so any plans to deregulate our democratic, locally accountable planning system will take decision making powers from communities and local councils and hand it over to short-sighted developers.

“The government can only seriously claim to be pursuing the levelling up agenda after scrapping its planned spending on roads and refocusing planning reforms to deliver for people, not the developers.

“Until this happens, it’s just the same old deal.”

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