Other Tories stressed the importance of residents having a say over what is built in their areas.
The post Tory MP calls for housing targets and brands planning reforms ‘unambitious’ appeared first on Jersey Evening Post.

Annual “housing targets” should be set across England to make sure planned new homes are built, ministers have been told.

Conservative MP Huw Merriman (Bexhill and Battle) branded the Government’s planning reform proposals in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill “unambitious and modest” as he called for yearly building targets.

Other Tories stressed the importance of residents having a say over what is built in their areas and making sure new homes meet the latest environmental standards.

Mr Merriman told the Commons: “The 2020 White Paper promised us a once-in-a-generation reform to planning policy. These present proposals appear somewhat unambitious and modest in contrast.”

“Surely at the very least we can have annual housing targets which take into account those houses not yet built out, so developers build rather than landbank.”

Housing minister Stuart Andrew replied: “The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will improve our planning system and give residents more involvement in local development. The Bill will strengthen and scale up neighbourhood planning and enable the piloting of street votes, supported by new digital tools to give communities more say in the developments that affect them.”

He added: “We have got measures within the Bill that are trying to address build-out rates. This is an important element that we have to tackle… We will do everything we can to ensure that the houses that have got permission are actually built.”

The 2020 Planning for the Future White Paper reportedly proved unpopular with Conservative MPs in traditional Tory-voting areas of the country, with constituents worried it would lead to a huge house building drive.

Conservative MP Henry Smith (Crawley) said: “Homes England are proposing up to 10,000 houses on flood-prone green fields… just outside of my constituency, which would put unacceptable pressure on local infrastructure, and yet local people in my constituency – even though they would be most affected – have no say over it.

“How will these planning proposals allow the people of Crawley to say no?”

Wantage MP David Johnston said: “It’s not simply the sheer number of developments in my constituency and the pressure they place on local infrastructure that constituents object to, it’s also the environmental impact of the way the homes are constructed… I would like to see a requirement that homes are built to the latest environmental standard rather than the one at the time permission was granted.”

Mr Andrew replied that improving environmental standards and community engagement were “key elements of our reforms”.

Elsewhere, shadow communities secretary Lisa Nandy suggested the rest of Cabinet has treated Communities Secretary Michael Gove with “contempt”.

She said: “He couldn’t get money from the Chancellor, he couldn’t visas from the Home Secretary, he couldn’t convince his own former junior minister to stop closures of work and pensions offices in the north.

“He couldn’t even persuade his own civil servants on levelling up to move out of London. For all this nonsense, two-thirds of his civil servants working on levelling up are trying to level us up from the capital.

“At least now he knows what it’s like for the rest of us in the North, Scotland, the Midlands, Wales and the South West, to be treated with total contempt by a bunch of ministers in Whitehall.

“Seriously, what hope has he got of convincing us in this country that he can level us up when he can’t even convince a single one of his colleagues around the Cabinet table.”

The post Tory MP calls for housing targets and brands planning reforms ‘unambitious’ appeared first on Jersey Evening Post.

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