St Albans councillors express mixed feelings around proposed overhaul of planning system

PUBLISHED: 09:01 08 August 2020

The proposed reforms were published on Thursday. Picture: Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

The proposed reforms were published on Thursday. Picture: Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

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This week’s landmark white paper outlining an unprecedented overhaul to the planning system in England has been met with a mixed response from St Albans District Council’s planning portfolio holder.

St Albans district Cllr Jamie Day. Picture: Pete StevensSt Albans district Cllr Jamie Day. Picture: Pete Stevens

Last week’s landmark white paper outlining an unprecedented overhaul to the planning system in England has been met with a mixed response from St Albans District Council’s planning portfolio holder.

On Thursday, housing minister Robert Jenrick unveiled a new ‘rules-based’ planning system which will completely overhaul the existing structure, designed to remove unnecessary “red tape and bureaucracy.”

Council leaders across the country have expressed deep caution, however, amid fears the reforms may herald a significant move away from local decision-making and council-led democracy.

On behalf of St Albans District Council, councillor Jamie Day, portfolio holder for planning said: “Any review of the processes to enable early delivery of local homes and jobs is welcomed.

Cllr Mary Maynard.Cllr Mary Maynard.

“However, we have concerns about the suggested loss of local democracy on some planning proposals.

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“The council will be looking at the proposals and responding to the government before the deadline.”

The council will have until the consultation deadline on October 29 to submit thoughts around the plans, which have been hailed as “once in a generation” by housing secretary Robert Jenrick.

Leader of the St Albans Conservative party Mary Maynard has backed the proposals.

She said: “The planning changes laid out in the white paper will cut through a lot of the difficulties St Albans district and other local councils have faced in developing a Local Plan.

“In particular, dropping the need to obtain duty to cooperate and develop the immensely complex evidence bases will simplify planning activities, reduce cost and speed up decision making.

“The government’s recognition of the need for beautiful buildings will resonate with local people as will their insistence on local consultation in new developments.

“We have a serious housing shortage both locally and nationally. This government has given real hope to young people and families desperate to get on the housing ladder and has brought the dream of a decent home within many more peoples’ grasp.”

To read the proposals in full, go to gov.uk/government/consultations/planning-for-the-future.


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