Planning Permission In Principle

Local councils, WLBC included, are to lose their powers to block individual housing developments under planning reforms to be unveiled this week. Ministers will announce what they describe as a planning revolution that will force authorities to allocate land for developments that will then not have to go through the full planning process.

Critics said yesterday that the move would reduce democratic accountability and lead to poor-quality new houses being built in areas without adequate public services.

CPRE, the countryside charity, said it would lead to a “gross oversimplification of the planning system” and was not the answer to the shortage of high-quality housing.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils, said it would result in poorer-quality housing and take away the protection of residents to shape the area in which they lived. The government insisted that the new system would not only speed up house building but ensure those developments happened in the right areas.

Ministers said they would create new “design standards” to ensure that properties which get the go-ahead in this way are in keeping with the style of existing properties. They will also introduce a system of developer contributions to fund local infrastructure.

On Times Radio yesterday Robert Jenrick, the Housing Secretary, insisted that councils would still have a say in where developments took place. He said the measures would end the problem of housing being turned down by planning committees even when it was in areas designated for development in local plans. “It will be a system which places a demand on local areas to build the homes that they need. It will be much simpler and faster, and enable people to get on and build”.

Under a new zoning system for planning approvals, all land will be designated into three categories: for renewal, for growth and for protection. In the first two categories there will be a new legal “permission in principle” approach for new buildings. Areas of outstanding natural beauty and the green belt will come under the protection category where most new buildings will be automatically banned. [We wish!]

The reforms will be published this week in a paper entitled Planning for the Future. It will also outline plans to use money from developers to give local people discounts of up to one third off the cost of a house.

The reformsAll land in local authority areas to be designated as either for renewal, development or protection. • Developers wishing to build on land designated for renewal or development will no longer have to go through full planning procedures. • Areas of outstanding beauty and green belt designated for protection. • Standards to ensure properties match the style of existing homes. • New system of developer contributions to local infrastructure.

Can you imagine the big land developers, already sitting on huge land banks, suddenly contributing to the provision of modern drains and sewers? No, nor me!

4 thoughts on “Planning Permission In Principle

  1. stodgey

    Now there’s a thing – you’ve managed to get ‘Planning Permission’ and ‘Principle’ in the same headline. Remember the good old days when David Cameron’s government brought out new laws giving local people all the power on where and whether to have new development? And how long did that last? Not very long because Call-Me-Dave realised that he couldn’t impose stuff on the locals…. cue, ‘reform’. And then even more ‘Reform’ – and every time, the balance subtlety changed, from citizenry to rabid developer. And now? We have full capitulation. The destroyers of worlds have won, England, so abused by successive governments since the asymmetric Devo giveaway in 1997 is finally lost. It’ll be renamed ‘Urbanist Redrownia’ – It’s role as the world’s biggest housing estate seems assured.

    To be honest, I’ve rarely felt so disheartened. I’ve been a member of the CPRE for over 10 years and I’m beginning to wonder why. As a national lobbying organisation they are utterly ineffective. I’ve had a 45 year career in communication and marketing, working with some of the biggest companies on the planet – and cannot believe what an amateurish joke these people are. I’ve tried to table resolutions at the AGM, (refused), I’ve attended local branch meetings where everyone seemed more interested in the cakes being served than trying to save the local green belt. I’ve sent marketing & publicity ideas to their HQ (all ignored). I and many other members have constructively criticised their core beliefs as not fit for purpose In a modern world – it makes no difference, the CPRE just carry on as before; working hard at being totally irrelevant. They’re all too interested in having ‘high-level’ power lunches with govt ministers, who listen ‘attentively’ to CPRE’s concerns then do whatever they like, knowing that all the CPRE will do is tutt-tutt-tutt along with a bit of handwringing.

    So that’s where I am; frustrated, angry, worried what kind of a country my 10 month old grandson is going to inherit. And as for my CPRE membership? It’s hanging by a thread, what the hell is the point?

    1. westlancashirerecord Post author

      What is there to say other than to agree with every sentiment expressed? Wherever we look we see potential development sites on the other side of almost every hedge on every country lane. But no worries, there will be trees planted on every new road built. “Urbanist Redrownia” coupled with Persimmon, the most complained about builder in the country? Too awful to contemplate!

  2. stodgey

    Oh, eh up…… Stop Press, ‘Our West Lancashire’ have just emailed me asking for my input. Well, whoopy-do! According to OWL, the Borough Council are consulting the public on their new proposed vision and corporate plan. Cue laughter and much merriment. ‘Vision’ & ‘Plan’…..

    I’ve sent them a reply (detailed below), if I didn’t know better, I’d say my cynicism is beginning to show 🤔

    My horrific experiences during my involvement in the Yew Tree Farm protest fiasco tells me this is another PR exercise in managing the public; giving them the impression their opinion actually matters, when we both know, you’ll do whatever the hell you like (or more likely, do whatever the hell you are told by the govt).

    There is no ‘vision’ – and no ‘plan’: because anyone who could give the gargantuan Yew Tree Farm development the go ahead (even in the face of massive local opposition) must be both blind, deaf and feeble-minded. Merely repainting yourselves in a different footy shirt simply will not wash, you are all the same.

    So, I’ll pass, save myself a whole shed full of frustration – and just become resigned to the fact that we have the worst council in the country (and believe me, there’s a hell of a lot of competition out there).


    1. westlancashirerecord Post author

      We used to be born optimists, now we are living pessimists! And for we who lived the Yew Tree Farm farce, the parish referendum, the violence and threats at voting stations, the torn down signs and placards, and the vote in the Council Chamber, enough is enough. When this elected council knows how little notice is taken of sewage and flooding by paid officers, we know we must have the worst council possible, rubber stamped by them paying a brief £800 to keep a six month absentee councillor in office and ignoring another who gave notice of quitting, now living in London, yet “attending” virtual meetings and pocketing the allowance.


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