Former housing ministers slam new planning proposals

Former housing ministers slam new planning proposals

John Penrose and two other former Conservative ministers have expressed concern that the government’s proposed planning reforms are “too weak to make a difference on the scale that’s going to be needed” to solve the housing crisis.

John Penrose, Nick Boles and Mark Prisk wrote to Sajid Javid following his announcement about changing planning so residential and commercial premises can ‘Build Up Not Out’ to create new homes.

In the letter, the MPs urge the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to be bolder, given the scale of the housing crisis.

They warned that the new rules must allow for building up not out in all towns and cities, and without red tape.

“As your department’s Housing White Paper says, the only way to make homes more affordable is to build a lot more of them,” the letter said. “We haven’t built enough homes for decades and the lack of supply has caused soaring prices and created one of the biggest barriers to social progress in our country today. There is no time to waste, otherwise house prices will continue to spiral and we will lock a generation out of the dream of home ownership.”

The MPs told Javid that ‘Build Up Not Out’ has to be ambitious. “Just building a few flats above shops in struggling high streets or around train stations won’t be nearly enough to solve the huge problem which you’ve (rightly) outlined in your White Paper,” they said. “If we’re going to make a big enough difference, we have to be far bolder than that.

“The idea needs to apply much more broadly, to free up sites in seaside towns, market towns and suburbs across the entire country, otherwise we will never build at the scale and speed which is desperately needed.

“Now is the moment when these much-needed and transformational new measures are needed most. Please make sure you don’t miss it. A generation of potential house-owners and renters is watching.”

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