Following the by-election loss at the Chesham and Amersham, MPs have requested Boris Johnson to review his potentially “electorally toxic” planning reforms, as set out in Planning for the Future.
Planning is widely linked to the election defeat around local issues connected to the HS2, a shocking loss of a traditional Conservative seat, dramatically illustrated with Liberal Democratic leader Sir Ed Davey smashing a wall of blue bricks as a press stunt.
But Sarah Green MPs win sent a shudder through the Conservative party, with many MPs pushing back on the planning overhaul which will dramatically change how we do planning in the country. This is largely due to fear of future election losses as planning is such an emotive local issue.
In a Parliamentary debate MPs cited voter fears around the liberalisation of planning laws – Johnson’s 2020 pledge to “transform the sclerotic planning system”, with the strongest opposition coming from MPs in the south of the country.
The general concerns are that an algorithm for the numbers of housing each area must be responsible for is not realistic, and that the new system will give people less say about local planning matters.
NaCSBA is broadly supportive of the proposed reforms, which will offer more certainty about what can get built where, and the planning system in general has been widely held culpable for many of the issues and delays around house building.