The UK’s oldest housing and planning charity has expressed its concern about the implications of the Government’s announcement of further significant deregulation to planning.
According to the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) the recent announcement from Prime Minister David Cameron that he wants to build a million new homes by 2020, many of them affordable and aimed at first time buyers, quality could be sacrificed for quantity.
It will means the introduction of US style zonal planning for brownfield sites, and the removal of a range of controls that are vital to ensure that high quality homes are built, it says while fully supporting the initiative.
The TCPA is concerned that local communities will have no control over the quality of many of the homes built in their areas and says that by allowing large numbers of new homes to be created without going through the usual planning processes, there is a clear risk that we will build poor quality developments which increase the pressure on community facilities such as roads, schools and doctors’ surgeries.
It also criticises the plant to make permanent the temporary changes to permitted development rules so that offices can be converted into homes without the need for planning permission. It says this risks creating poor quality housing with no space for children to play, no car parkin; and no consideration of the need for more local school places, GP surgeries and other community facilities and infrastructure.
Granting outline planning permission for any housing built on brownfield land, in effect, represents the introduction of zonal planning, it says, a system that can work well if properly implemented with detailed procedures to ensure quality but represents a major change to English planning that the Government is introducing with no consultation, and no safeguards to safeguard quality.
‘The decision to extend permitted development from office to residential seriously undermines the ability to create decent homes in vibrant communities. The Government says it is committed to localism and that it wants planning to give power to local communities. However, the announcements mean that local communities will have even less say over how their neighbourhoods are developed,’ said Kate Henderson, TCPA chief executive.
According to Hugh Ellis, head of policy at the TCPA, it is a major deregulation of local planning and the loss of community control over large parts of the urban environment.’ It is worrying that this has come at a time when we know we need smart green cities that can deal with climate change and provide healthy environments for ordinary people. These announcements are a missed opportunity to ensure we create high quality, successful and climate resilient places,’ he added.
The TCPA is currently undertaking a major new project, Planning4People, which pushes for strong and democratic planning system which puts the needs of ordinary people at the heart of planning.
‘As we strive to address the housing crisis and build the homes that the nation desperately needs, it is vital that we have a strong focus on quality as well as quantity, and ensure that the needs of ordinary people remain at the heart of planning,’ said Henderson.
‘Planning has the power to create wonderful places and multiple benefits for our society. However, the persistent deregulation of planning is removing this power and is damaging our ability to deliver the high quality places that the nation needs,’ she concluded.
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Source: Property News Spain