Conservative government’s ‘Planning for the Future’ proposals fail to address the current issues present in the planning system and threaten to remove local decision making and accountability, depriving local communities of the ability to define the area they live in and know best.
Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, commented:
“Nationally, nine in 10 planning applications are approved by councils, while more than a million homes given planning permission in the last decade, which have not yet been built. This includes thousands of homes in York Therefore to suggest that planning is a barrier to housebuilding is wrong. If the Government’s proposals in this consultation were to be implemented many residents may find that they have lost the ability to object to applications that they currently take for granted.
“The planning system does need to change but not at the expense of public involvement, and the ability for councillors to represent their communities. Many problems are caused by overturning local decisions in remote Government Offices often with great delays. This issue should be central in the proposed consultation, otherwise, the planning process will become even more centralised and decisions will be further removed from the communities affecting them.
“If the Government was truly committed to building more houses, they would listen to local authorities who have long called for reforms to be allowed to build more social housing. This includes cheaper loans, access to low-priced public land and the right to keep 100 per cent of the sale price of council homes sold off under Right to Buy.
“As we take our first steps towards building back better, it’s crucial that local communities are at the heart of our recovery efforts. It should be they who drive the national recovery with the power and voice to shape our local areas and the future of our city. This can only be achieved through a local planning system with public participation at its heart, which enables councils to deliver resilient, prosperous places that meet the needs of local communities and tackle the major challenges facing our country.
“We will continue to call for a planning system which would provide greater certainty for communities, encourage brownfield development, deliver better infrastructure and increase local community engagement. It is crucial the Government now listens to local authorities to understand the real needs of our local communities.”