‘MP’s article was misleading and one-sided’
THE recent article from John Howell MP regarding the government’s proposed planning reforms was misleading and one-sided, I would like to put into perspective and correct some of the points he made regarding these reforms.
More power to local people in planning decisions would certainly be welcomed, however under the planned reforms, local people will have no say on housing numbers.
Unfortunately town councils will not be able to set housing numbers but instead these will continue to be imposed on local people by district councils and central government.
The government planning inspectors have already increased the number of housing South Oxfordshire and thus Thame has to accommodate and hence it is disingenuous that our local MP claims these reforms will sweep away ‘the imposition of housing numbers from Whitehall’.
In fact, the new planning reforms are designed to place economic growth ahead of everything else and include measures to significantly boost the supply of housing and development.
The reforms include a presumption in favour of development and the scrapping of targets for the amount of future development to be on brownfield sites.
This is why organisations such as the National Trust are so concerned about their impact on our countryside.
Our MP was also misleading to link the downturn in house building with planning.
The main hurdle to house building has not been planning (our current system approves 80 per cent of planning applications) the problem has been the economic downturn.
Some MPs are listening to their constituents and raising concerns about these government reforms, unfortunately our MP is continuing to champion and promote them. In his article he acknowledges the anger the imposed housing numbers have caused to this town, but I am yet to see any action or support from him on this matter.
Editor’s note: The government’s consultation process on these planning reforms ended this week.
Build new homes on the worst land only
NEW housing can have one bad effect, which is when it is upon agricultural land that could produce food.
The world population is increasing greatly, as will be the need for food.
New housing should not be on good land but on the worst ONLY.