Dacorum councillors raise concerns over controversial planning reforms

And council leader says the council must ensure it can deliver the types of homes Dacorum needs, including affordable homes

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 9:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 9:56 am

The Liberal Democrat party in Dacorum is supporting a national call on the Government to scrap its controversial planning reforms.

It says the reforms in the Planning for the Future white paper will make it easier for developers to convert properties to housing without consulting the local community, as well as get out of affordable housing commitments. Developments delivering fewer than 50 units will have no requirement for affordable homes.

Ron Tindall, Group Leader of the Dacorum Borough Council Liberal Democrat group, raised concerns over the proposals, which he says will weaken planning legislation.

Planning stock image

The Conservative leader of Dacorum Borough Council said he shares some concerns about the White paper, and believes the council needs to ensure that it can deliver the types of homes Dacorum needs, including affordable homes.

On Monday, May 17, the Local Government Association (LGA) and Shelter both gave evidence against the Government's proposed reforms to Permitted Development Rights.

Liberal Democrats Spokesperson for Housing, Communities and Local Government Tim Farron MP said: "The Government's planning reforms will rip powers away from local people and give them to wealthy property developers, threatening the delivery of the affordable homes we need and our local environment.

"The Government seems to think that the reason houses are not being built is because local communities have too much say over planning. That isn’t true. There are hundreds of thousand new properties with planning permission that developers just haven’t built.

"The Conservatives are looking to silence local people and create a developer-led planning system for their corporate property mates. Communities must have the power to decide what gets built, where and that we get the homes we need - not just those that the developers want to build.

"These disastrous reforms are bad for the delivery of the affordable homes we need, bad for the environment and bad for democracy. The Government must scrap them now."

Cllr Andrew Williams, Leader of Dacorum Borough Council, said: “Whilst there is a need to look at the how we deliver the necessary new homes, which the Lib Dems nationally support, I agree that it is crucial that local councils and the communities they serve continue to have a strong voice in how those homes are delivered.

"I share concerns that the White paper potentially weakens our role and control over future development and the implication that somehow the planning system is the reason why homes are not being delivered when permissions have been granted across the country for thousands of new homes that have not been built.

"We need to also ensure that we can deliver the types of homes we need including the delivery of affordable homes.”