Government White Paper threatens to fuel overdevelopment
The biggest planning issue facing the entire southeast is the recent White Paper, “Planning for the Future”. The new proposals, following a decade of overdevelopment, would grant developers even further license to escape local control. It is notable that these proposals have drawn condemnation from across the political spectrum, including the parliamentary Conservative party.
We would point out three areas in which the proposals are fundamentally flawed:
1) They would create a zonal planning system, in which applications based on pre-approved “design codes” receive automatic approval. This would eliminate a whole stage of local oversight, increasing the likelihood of unsuitable building schemes.
2) They would establish a centralised algorithm to impose higher housing targets on local authorities. This would be a best a very blunt instrument that would be blind to local geography, ecology and building patterns.
3) The centrally imposed targets would be entirely unrealistic. The new housing target for Mid Sussex, for example, would be 1,305 units per year – 72% above current build rates. The imposition of such an implausible requirement would only ensure that the local authority remains in default, making us even more vulnerable to speculative schemes.
A consultation period on these proposals has now ended. Media reports indicate that the government may alter its position at least partially.