Last week, Suella Braverman met with representatives from CPRE Hampshire, a local environmental charity, to discuss the Government’s Planning White Paper.
‘Planning for the Future’, which is currently under consultation until 29 October, proposes radical reform of our current planning system, by cutting arbitrary red tape while maintaining standards, placing a higher regard on quality, and protecting the environment.
Housing plans will be developed and agreed in 30 months, not 7 years. Moreover, every area will have a local plan by December 2023, which identifies land for development and protection. These plans will place land in three categories: growth areas “suitable for substantial development”, renewal areas “suitable for some development”, and “protected areas” including Green Belt sites.
‘Zero carbon ready’ homes, a fast-track system for beautiful buildings and a simpler national levy to replace developer contributions, are also included within the proposals.
Although CPRE Hampshire responded positively to large swathes of the document – including the ambition to streamline the planning process and introduce strict design codes – they expressed reservations regarding the implications of the proposed new standard method for calculating housing need. Indeed, according to estimates from Lichfield’s, a planning and development consultancy, such changes would disproportionately shift housing numbers from the cities to the rural districts.
While housing in Fareham remains a top priority, Suella Braverman was pleased to discover that housing requirements in Fareham would decrease by 22 per cent under the revised standard method. This figure strikes an important balance between satisfying housing demand and safeguarding local areas from development.
The attendees recognised that the algorithm used to determine housing requirements lacked the necessary nuance, and that this issue was a Hampshire-wide challenge. Suella Braverman added that there may be an opportunity to tweak the formula, to overcome this problem if necessary.
Commenting Suella Said:
“Transparency is of focal importance in matters of local planning, and therefore I was delighted to meet with CPRE Hampshire to ascertain their perspective on the recently announced Planning White Paper.
Ultimately, I believe that we must address this highly bureaucratic system which impedes our ability to get boots on the ground. There is a housing crisis in Fareham, and I welcome proposals designed to expedite the construction of new homes for our community. However, as I know CPRE Hampshire will agree, such changes must not adversely affect design standards, the availability of affordable housing, and our precious green spaces.”