Housebuilders say new rules would turn planners into dictators

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The housebuilding industry has reacted furiously to a mooted change in the planning system which they say would put too much power in the hands of local authorities and lead to fewer houses being built.

The housebuilding industry has reacted furiously to a mooted change in the planning system which they say would put too much power in the hands of local authorities and lead to fewer houses being built.

The House Builders Federation (HBF) has seized on a leaked Whitehall draft document which contains a new version of planning guidelines known as PPG3. According to the (HBF), the new rules drawn up by John Prescott's department, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, would allow councils to dictate the "size, type and affordability" of all new developments. This would stall the working of the new housing market and work against the recommendations of the recent Barker review, which called for greater supply and was backed by both the Treasury and the Prime Minister.

Instead of housebuilders putting schemes to planning authorities, the new PPG3 would reverse the process and mean that councils would decide on the exact details of the development to be allowed on a piece of land and would then contract out to builders.

A spokesman for the HBF said: "The people who brought you the high-rise disasters of the 1960s now want to be let loose on all new private homes."

Although the current system requires builders to negotiate proposed schemes with planners, the spokesman said that at least they were able to initiate the development and are able to appeal against decisions that they believe are unreasonable. Under the new proposals, he said, councils could dictate what they pleased.

Comments