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Planners attack government's further planning reform plans

A senior planner officer has warned government plans for more planning reform could decrease the number of new homes built

The criticism comes one day after the government revealed fresh plans to boost development by shortening planning inquiries and judicial reviews and softening planning laws for greenbelts

Malcolm Sharp, Planning Officers’ Society president, told The Daily Telegraph it was lack of finances and not bureaucracy holding back development.

He said: ‘Developers have hundreds of thousands of plots where they have planning permission granted but they are not building.

‘Instead of talking about planning, we need to find other ways to help developers use those sites.’

Yesterday, the government launched a fresh assault on planning just months after the controversial National Planning Policy Framework came into effect.

The new measures to support enterprise included a state backed small business bank and £10 billion worth of house building guarantees for housing associations and private sector developers.

Chancellor George Osborne indicated the government would also encourage councils to allow development on greenbelt land if fresh greenbelt land was designated elsewhere.

Landscape Institute president Sue Illman questioned whether it was sustainable to build on greenbelt land or logical because of the need to build new infrastructure.

She said: ‘The Green Belt is one of the most successful planning initiatives of the past half century.  Digging it up is lazy policy-making.  We have just witnessed how a significant Brownfield site could be rapidly and fundamentally developed to deliver an Olympic Park and Athletes’ Village that will act as a catalyst for wider development and private investment.’ 

She added: ‘It is not sustainable to develop on Green Belt land; nor is it sustainable to allow suburban estates to sprawl out into the countryside.  And, it is illogical to build costly new infrastructure on green belt land when building on existing Brownfield land allows for incremental growth using existing infrastructure.’


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