Andrew George Warns Against Turning Countryside into “Developers’ Paradise”
Local MP, Andrew George, was quoted in a national newspaper at the weekend criticising the Government’s draft National Planning Policy Framework.
The Sunday Telegraph produced a front page article showing that both the National Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) were both strongly opposed to the Government’s plans which would lift many of the planning restrictions from the countryside. The planning reform is supposed to streamline complicated rules on buildings, reducing 1300 pages of National Planning Policy to just 52. Councils will be told that there should be a ‘presumption for development’.
Mr George, who is also an officer of the All Party Parliamentary Planning and Housing Group said:
“This would turn places like Cornwall into a ‘developer’s paradise’ and stop stone dead any chance of us ever meeting our desperate local housing need.
“The Conservatives know that the planning system is fuelled by greed rather than by need. This would give a massive hope value on virtually every piece of green space. The Government knows that you can’t build affordable housing with inflated land prices; which would be an inevitable consequence of the Government’s policy.
“Cornwall can provide the evidence of why this policy will not work. We are not NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) folk in Cornwall. We’ve grown faster than almost anywhere else in Britain – the housing supply has more than doubled in the last 40 years. Yet the housing problems of local people have got dramatically worse. So we have learnt that simply allowing developers to set the planning agenda doesn’t provide the long-term answers for the local community.
“It sounds counterintuitive, but the best way to meet local need is to stop or restrict development and then to only allow developments to go forward as an ‘exception’ where it meets a local need in perpetuity. We have been done this for the past decade or so where planners have successfully restricted development.
“The Government has got this one wrong and must be made to think again,” said Mr George.
Mr George also pointed to a publication he circulated in May 2008 entitled ‘Local Need or Developers’ Greed?’