UK planning system ‘not fit for purpose’, says Robert Jenrick
His intervention comes amid a growing row within the Conservative Party over the next planning bill due in the fall, which will see the country split into at least two areas marked for protection or growth.
In areas marked for development, critics say owners of existing homes will find it more difficult to object to new construction.
While Tory MPs in southern England fear the plans will lead to a ‘blue wall’ backlash from voters in the leafy suburbs, senior ministers reportedly see reforms as key to consolidating their gains in old ones. Labor foci.
The high levels of home ownership in the Red Wall are believed to be part of the reason why traditional working-class communities are switching allegiances.
The issue is expected to return to a crunch on Tuesday during a debate on the Queen’s Speech in the House of Commons, after Theresa May said last week that the plans would “reduce local democracy” and would see “the wrong houses being built in the wrong places.”
However, ahead of the confrontation, Jenrick argues that the existing system is in fact a “maze” in which only “three percent of the public engage”, and that it is heavily biased in favor of “big developers who can. afford expensive lawyers and figure out how to navigate the system ”.
He adds that the government’s reforms “will take power out of the hands of big developers” and make the system more “accessible”, with residents no longer dependent on planning notices affixed to lampposts or placed in libraries.
Instead, Mr Jenrick says people will be able to ‘contribute via their smartphones’, with ministers considering a digital overhaul so people are better able to give their opinion on local plans and design codes that dictate the how planning permissions are granted in zones and what buildings should look like.
He adds that the UK will become the first major country to introduce local design codes that will make “high quality design” and “beauty” a priority so that the appearance of the streets reflects the aesthetic preferences of the people. local “.
“To borrow from John Ruskin’s words, we have to build, and when we do, think we’re building forever,” he says.
“ We have a duty to move again towards a home ownership society ”
By Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing
The past year has tested the whole nation. The pandemic abruptly canceled normal life, which presented us all with different challenges.
While staying at home has been difficult for everyone, for those who live in small, unsanitary homes – or who have no home at all – the challenge has been more acute.
This demonstrated something that was well known before: Long-standing problems have meant that the type of houses being built did not meet people’s expectations and that they were often too expensive.
So, as life begins to return to normal, we must not forget the urgent need to tackle this problem. In doing so, we have the opportunity to radically transform the quality of life of many people across our country, especially young people.
Ownership democracy is one of the foundations of our country and is at the heart of our identity as conservatives. But there is a whole generation that now feels excluded from the dream of home ownership.
We have a duty to correct this imbalance and return to a property society in which more of our citizens can enjoy the security and freedom of owning their own homes.
That is why, as noted in the Queen’s Speech last week, we are introducing homeownership reforms to promote a simpler, faster and more predictable planning system as the foundation of this effort.
The current system is simply not suited to its purpose – and it would be dishonest to pretend otherwise. Indeed, polls consistently show that it fails to generate public trust and respect. It dates back to 1947 and is slow, bureaucratic and inefficient. France is building houses three times faster than in Britain. And if in a hurry, most people would probably prefer buildings and places built before, rather than after, his birth.
Without our homeownership reforms, planning will remain tied to procedures designed for the last century.
We need to make these changes now to make sure we improve the opportunities and provide the homes and infrastructure, like schools and hospitals, needed across England.
I know that Telegraph readers share a desire to increase homeownership, want to achieve this aspiration for themselves, or for their children and grandchildren, but want to do so with care for the environment and with a broad local consent. These are also our guiding principles.
Our reforms will give communities a greater voice early in the planning process.
The current system excludes local residents who simply do not have time to contribute to the maze planning process: less than three percent of the public engage with the current planning system, which is heavily weighted in favor of applicants. ; great developers who can afford expensive lawyers and figure out how to navigate the system.
It is neither fair nor conducive to the type of building that people want to see.
By making planning much simpler and more accessible, it will be easier for residents to influence the plan of their local area and have a say in the location and level of new development by ensuring that, unlike today, we are building the right houses in the right places.
And, without a doubt, we will continue to protect our green belt, as well as the conservation areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty. As is happening now, it will be up to democratically elected local councilors to decide how to provide the housing their area needs.
We also focus on high-quality design – and a local vision of beauty – so that the appearance of the streets reflects the aesthetic preferences of the locals. We will be the first major country in the world to provide locally popular design codes for every community, with tree-lined streets accompanying new developments.
We want homes that inspire pride and are built to last. To borrow the words of John Ruskin, we have to build, and when we do, think we are building forever.
Our homeownership reforms will take power out of the hands of large developers and return it to local communities and small builders, ending the monopoly of large construction companies. It is not surprising that they are happy with the current system, as its complexity prevents small businesses and local entrepreneurs from competing with each other.
We’ll also be looking at new ways to ensure sites thrive as expected. This could include the introduction of royalties on land with planning permission that has not been built – no options are taken off the table.
Building a house is never easy, as we all care deeply about the house as our greatest emotional and financial investment. But allowing the next generation to own their homes should be something we can all agree on. Who wouldn’t want Generation Rent to become Generation Buy?
A better planning system means full and total responsibility for advice on what is built and where.
This means a more engaging and accessible system for the public, where communities are reconnected to a planning system that serves them, able to contribute via their smartphone.
We want to live in a society that has reestablished powerful links between identity and place, between history and future, between community and purpose. Above all, we want to live in a country where young people can fulfill their dreams, including one of the most basic of all, that of raising a family in their own home.
The sensitive but substantial reforms that we are going to introduce will help us make this a reality and usher in a golden age of building high quality housing for residents and neighbors.