Planning Reforms Needed to Make Homeownership Achievable – Jenrick


he housing minister doubled down on his proposals for reforming the planning system despite opposition from conservative MPs, saying the government had “a duty” to ensure that home ownership was a realistic possibility for young people and families .

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Robert Jenrick said the current planning system “needs reform” because “it excludes the local population” and is “cumbersome, complicated and extremely difficult for ordinary people to navigate.”

But it comes after two Tory MPs rebelled to back a Labor motion calling on the government to protect the right of communities to oppose individual planning demands.

And there have also been warnings from the Conservative benches about how the government should approach the changes.

The problem is, we agree with the principle, but the policy is against it.

With a target of building 300,000 new homes a year in England, ministers want to overhaul the planning system, arguing that reforms would boost the construction of high-quality, sustainable housing, streamlining the process and cutting red tape.

However, critics warn that the plans will undermine local democracy by removing the public’s right to be heard in person and deprive elected planning committees of development decisions.

Boris Johnson has come under increased pressure to rethink the upheaval as he has been partly blamed for the Tories’ shocking defeat in the Chesham and Amersham by-elections.

Cabinet ministers are said to be among those who warned the Prime Minister after the Liberal Democrats won the seat in Buckinghamshire, a stronghold of the Tories since its creation in 1974.

Chesham and Amersham by-election / PA wire

But Mr Jenrick wrote in the Telegraph about “the belief that home ownership should be accessible to all who dream of it and that young people should aspire to own the keys to their own homes.”

He said: “We have a duty to young people and families to help them get there and to enjoy the security and prosperity that it can bring… but for that to happen, the current planning system must be reformed.

On Monday in the Commons, Labor’s non-binding motion was approved by 231 to none, a majority 231, after a majority of Tory MPs abstained.

Conservative William Wragg (Hazel Grove), who rebelled with Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot), told the Commons: “The problem is, we agree with principle but politics stand in the way. . I guess it’s a professional risk to be here.

He continued, “We are not Nimbys (not in my garden), this is not the charge that should be made against those of us who might have some skepticism about some of the ideas that have been taken. advances.

“We are not Bananas either, which means ‘don’t build anything near anyone’.

“What we want to see is a planning process, although some people may disagree, what we want to see is a planning process that involves and engages people and provides the housing that we have. most definitely need. “

Opening the debate for the Labor Party, Shadow Housing Secretary Steve Reed said the proposals are “not popular with voters” because residents want a say in how their neighborhoods are developed.

But Housing Minister Christopher Pincher said: “Individual planning requests can take up to five years to determine, as well as plans can take up to seven years – it’s not fast enough, it doesn’t. ‘is not consistent, clear, or engaging enough and are determined to improve the system, as our reforms will protect our precious and beautiful green spaces with vital protections in place for the green belt. “

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