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Govt's planning reform shows they're not serious about tackling housing crisis

August 2, 2020 10:05 PM

New homes and hospitals will be granted "automatic" permission to be built as part of sweeping planning reforms in England, as it was announced a "permission in principle" will be given to developments on land designated "for renewal" to speed-up building.

But Shelter has warned against any reforms that lead to "bad-quality" housing. The homeless charity has said 280,000 homes received permission in England between 2011 and 2016 but were never built.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson Tim Farron said: "The announcement to reform England's planning laws today reveals that once again Ministers are not serious about solving the housing crisis. It is not the lack of planning permission that prevents new, genuinely affordable, homes being built, but this Government's refusal to properly invest in social housing.

"Across the country thousands are on housing waiting lists - but with councils approving nine out of ten planning applications, it is clear that these changes announced today will not help those on waiting lists or those saving to buy a home.

Mr Farron added: "Liberal Democrats will build 100,000 social homes for rent every year, to ensure that everybody has a safe and secure home. We will tackle rogue landlords with mandatory licencing, and promote long-term lettings.

"We will also tackle wasted vacant housing stock by allowing local authorities to increase council tax by up to 500 per cent where homes are left empty for more than six months.

"Rather than tinkering with planning laws, what Robert Jenrick should be doing is unveiling a huge housebuilding program of social homes for rent. In coalition Lib Dems oversaw the first net increase in social housing in 30 years

Ellen Nicholson, SW Wilts Lib Dem Housing ()spokesperson highlighted the Lib Dem manifesto promise that "Liberal Democrats wanted to see 100,000 new social homes to be built every year, as well as giving local authorities the ability to suspend the right to buy in their own areas, so that we could finally start tackling the crisis that's crippling the UK's housing market."

We have already lost thousands of social rented homes as a result of the Government's permitted developed changes to date.