Pledge to put growth at heart of planning system

Nia Williams

January 20, 2011

Speaking at an industry seminar John Howell MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Greg Clark as Minister of State for Decentralisation, said the coalition’s presumption in favour of sustainable development would be a “golden thread” running through the new planning system.

Howell said councils that failed to plan for new development would be “assumed to have a completely permissive planning system.”

A developer could then build “what they like, where they like and when they like” provided they meet new national planning guidance being worked up in tandem with the localism bill.

“I think that is an extremely good incentive for councils,” he said: “When we have got waiting lists for housing and a community that doesn’t want to build anything – that does not meet the sustainability test.”

Welcoming the remarks Liz Peace chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “The property industry’s greatest fear was that the localism agenda would lead to greater nimbyism.

“John’s comments have gone some way to easing these concerns with a clear emphasis on localism being used as a vehicle to drive growth and development rather than encouraging communities to opt out, effectively putting a leash on economic growth.”

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