"Relentless Push for Development is Destroying Rural Dacorum", claim Liberal Democrat Opposition Councillors

February 21, 2021 11:41 PM

Housing ConstructionWhy does the Housing Secretary think a zoning system from the Wild West will work in "England's green and pleasant land?" Or anywhere else in the UK come to mention it! And to make matters worse local planning authorities - in our case Dacorum Borough Council - appear to be completely in thrall to the Housing Secretary?

In The Guardian (17th February 2021) Professor Ros Coward wrote:

"The government's relentless push for development is destroying rural England"

"The Housing Secretary still wants to impose a controversial American system of zoning, along with a presumption in favour of development. The proposals are scarily anti-democratic. Housing targets will be imposed by central government and local input sidelined. Yet the housing developments championed by Jenrick do nothing to increase the number of affordable homes."

Dacorum Lib Dem Borough Councillors welcome the article, which illuminates the government's failing planning policy and the absence of a national voice on the matter. They have written to The Guardian Letters page, to back the call for a campaign to emerge on this matter before it is too late.

Dear Ms Viner

Meet the need for housing, not the demand from developers!

We welcome the article by Professor Ros Coward (The government's relentless push for development is destroying rural England 17th February), which illuminates the government's failing planning policy and the absence of a national voice on the matter.

After the Ministry of Housing and Local Government's announcement of 16th December revising the Standard Method by dropping the 'mutant algorithm', we wrote to our MPs, Sir Mike Penning and Gagan Mohindra, and the Minister. We are still waiting for a response to the following pertinent questions:

  1. The MHCLG announcement states that "…in some places the numbers proposed by the standard method pose a risk to protected areas and Green Belt".

    How do you explain, then, that 42% of authorities with more than 1000 hectares of London's Greenbelt, has seen its housing target increase?

  2. The MHCLG announcement states that they want to see an uplift in housing target for the 20 most populated urban areas in England to take advantage of the availability of additional retail and office space arising from Covid.

    How can you explain that 6 of those urban areas have seen their target fall or stay the same?

  3. 70% of the houses being built are south of a line from the Wash to the Severn estuary.

    How does continued focus on development in the South of the country implement the government's policy of 'levelling up' the North of England?

  4. If Planning Policy is driven by evidence of housing 'need',

    then can you explain why the MHCLG is using 2014 Office of National Statistics data on housing need, rather than the more recent 2018 data?

Meanwhile the entire Borough seems set to be blanketted by a decade or more of Planning Blight!

You can read the Prof. Ros Coward article here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/feb/17/development-destroying-rural-england-action