HRA submitted a detailed response to the Government’s consultation on its Planning White Paper. The proposals in the White Paper would make development much easier, and make permissions automatic under certain circumstances. Worst of all, they propose to deprive communities of their historic right to have any future involvement in local town planning issues. Communities would lose their historic right to comment on individual development applications, leaving them with only the right to be involved in producing Local Plans every 10 years.
Please look at our comments in response to various questions from the MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government), and raise your concerns with your MP and any Peers with whom you have connections, asking them to oppose the Planning Bill if and when it eventually appears, unless the concerns raised by ourselves and a host of other groups and bodies nationwide, both community and professional, about the damage it will cause are addressed.
The Planning White Paper appears to have drawn unprecedented criticism – we understand that it drew 44,000 responses. HRA is very pleased to report that, on November 26th, HRA was one of 50 people/associations selected, out of 1,500 applicants, to give evidence on the Planning White Paper to the House of Commons Select Committee inquiry into its implications. The HRA Planning Team were given an opportunity to make our points, and we highlighted the concerns of the community sector as strongly as we could.
The HRA Planning Team was somewhat concerned to find that most attendees were far more welcoming of the government’s proposals than the HRA Planning Team. There was a strong voice for reducing democratic/local control of development. There was strong advocacy that development should be demand led and that the current planning system must need to be replaced because it has not met the current demand.
Most of those attending the event were planning consultants or in the building trade with much to gain by ending the opportunity for the local community to voice concerns about new developments. HRA raised the issue of infrastructure being inadequate to support unconstrained large developments but nobody in our discussion group of about 10 people apart from HRA was concerned about this issue. HRA also raised the issue of lack of clarity in the existing GPDO (General Permitted Development Order) and suggested that national planning guidelines would have this issue in spades, but most participants were untroubled by the issue.
You can see a summary of the Governments proposals here.
You can see HRA’s response to the Government’s survey of interested parties here.