I see the developers are taking full advantage of all the publicity about the housing shortage, to take yet another swipe at the planning system, in cahoots with various ministers of Government.
Behind all their whaling and whining, hides the fact that, difficult times or not, the industry still has hundreds of thousands of planning permissions they have not implemented. Why isn’t Greg Clark berating the building industry and asking why they aren’t building what they’ve already got, instead of moaning about wanting more? to paraphrase Oliver Twist, ‘Please sir, my bowl is already quite full, but can I have some more anyway!’.
The government looks set fair to ensure that local politicians of all persuasions carry the can for the housing shortage in this country. Having removed the regionally imposed housing number requires, to a great hurrah from the Party faithful in the more affluent areas of the country, ministers are now saying that it is up to councils to convince the locals that development is good for them. See the quote from one of Greg Clark’s bag carriers below.
Developers will be allowed to build “what they like, where they like” if councils fail to give permission for sufficient new housing schemes, a Conservative MP has said. John Howell, parliamentary private secretary to minister for decentralisation Greg Clark, warned that if councils failed to plan for new development, it would be assumed that they had a “completely permissive planning system”. As a result, he said a developer could build “what they like, where they like and when they like”, as long as they meet new national planning standards that are being worked on alongside the Localism Bill.
He stressed that the government’s new planning system aimed to lead to more development, not less development.
The new government obviously learnt at least one lesson during their time in opposition. Simply setting housing numbers doesn’t mean houses get built. Also, because these housing numbers were set regionally, it made it appear to be the government’s fault. they weren’t going to have that. Afterall, there were plenty of other things they were in line to be blamed for that they wouldn’t be able to pass the buck for, without taking the blame for this as well!
Enter Baldrick (or should we call him Pickles in order to bring it up to date) with a cunning plan. Why not scrap the government imposed figures, whilst at the same time cutting the local government grant, top slicing what’s left and then only giving them that bit back if they build more houses – Brilliant! Not only does this get the housing deficit off of our backs, it also well and truly sticks it to local government, that I never liked anyway – Double brilliant!!