Local Group Name - Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Government housing and planning announcement

Thursday, 06 September 2012 13:01

Responding to the Government’s planned announcement on housing and planning, Countryside Campaigners, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) are encouraged by the early indications that there are no plans to alter protections for the Green Belt. Direct investment for more affordable housing is urgently needed and these ambitions are welcome. However, CPRE is concerned that removing the planning obligations on developers to provide affordable housing could result in fewer affordable houses being built.

CPRE’s most significant concern is that fast-tracking major infrastructure projects and housing, and expanding the role of the Planning Inspectorate to take decision from the hands of local councils, would reduce local communities influence over decisions and could result in more environmentally damaging schemes being built.

Neil Sinden, CPRE Director of Policy, says; 'Many of the measures being proposed call into question the Government's commitment to localism in planning. If it really wants local communities to be in control - as set out in the 2010 Coalition Programme when the coalition said they would end the era of top-down government by giving new powers to local councils and communities - then this looks like an odd package of measures.

“There is a risk that the new Permitted Development Rights - relaxing the laws on small scale development such as conservatories - is another challenge to local planning and potentially damaging to the character and beauty of the local environment. The fact is that good planning is not an obstacle to economic development but an essential tool for securing the best development in the places where it is most needed. ”

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