Thomas Bridge 13 July 2015

Government accused of shedding localism agenda under new planning reforms

Planning reforms designed to speed up construction represent a ‘shift away from localism’, according to the chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee.

Clive Betts has warned that Government plans to grant automatic planning approval for developments on brownfield land and free up London buildings from requiring planning permission for upwards expansion represent ‘a threat to the ability of local people to have their say on development in their area’.

Communities secretary Greg Clark said the plans to improve national productivity would remove barriers to ‘keep the country building’.

However Betts said he was ‘concerned by the shift away from localism that is suggested by these brownfield measures, the proposals on planning and building in London, and the proposals to take away from local communities any say over housing development that is part of a major project’.

He said that the measures ‘fail to spell out how we can ensure development is supported by the necessary infrastructure’ including parks and affordable housing, which he added were crucial if developments ‘can ever be genuinely sustainable’.

Betts welcomed government plans to intervene in local authorities that fail to produce local plans as ‘a useful first step’ but questioned how ministers would ‘stop councils dragging their feet on this issue’.

He voiced uncertainty that brownfield reforms would boost development, warning – in concerns that chimed with concerns voiced by the Local Government Association – that the biggest barrier to more building on these sites was ‘availability of resources to make these sites suitable for development’ rather than ‘sluggish’ town hall action.

Responding to the claims, housing and planning minister, Brandon Lewis, said: 'We want to build the much needed homes for future generations and by putting Local Plans at the heart of the planning system we are allowing local people, who know best, to decide what development is most appropriate for their area.

'We have got the country building again and by prioritising the use of brownfield land we are making the best use of land whilst protecting the Green Belt.

'All of this is reaping results, with the latest figures showing more than 570,000 new homes built since April 2010 and planning permissions granted for 253,000 new homes in 2014.'

Theres a whiff of purpose once more on devolution image

There's a whiff of purpose once more on devolution

Devolution should rock the status quo and create a new culture of governance which pushes everyone who currently holds decision-making power out of their comfort zones, says deputy chief executive of New Local Jessica Studdert.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Rights Of Way Officer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£27,741 - £29,577
We are looking for a candidate who has practical experience of working with Rights of Way and access issues and... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Casual Assistant Swimming Instructor

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 4 - £11.01 per hour
Riverside Leisure Centre is Chelmsford City Council’s flagship leisure facility, offering a variety of sporting activities where there is something... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Systems Support Analyst

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£26,544 - £30,618 per annum
We are committed to promoting equality and respecting diversity and welcome applications from all sections of the community. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Service Manager

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£59,111 - £67,900 per annum
Create a better quality of life for our most vulnerable children and young people. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Contracts and Commissioning Manager

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£44,370 - £50,964 per annum
An opportunity has arisen within the Adult Learning team that develops and oversees the contracting and commissioning function for this service.  Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue