Wiltshire Council still failing badly on 5 year housing land supply
By Ellen Nicholson
Originally published by Trevor Carbin Liberal Democrat
- Analysis from the Local Government Association in March 2020 showed over a million homes were granted planning permission but never built over the past decade. Wiltshire Council is no exception this failure.
Across the Country and Wiltshire, the same themes arise again and again;
- • Not delivering nearly enough 'affordable' housing;
• Allowing sub-standard homes through Permitted Development rights;
• An accumulating backlog of unbuilt planning permissions;
• Not doing enough to respond to the Climate Emergency;
• Perpetuating car-dependent developments in an era when walkable, healthy
neighbourhoods are ever more needed.
Alongside this, the failure to keep the supply up to date means that developers can choose where they want to build new housing in Wiltshire, with little the council can do to control them.
The five year supply also has to include a buffer, making it 5.25 years, so the margin of failure is significant and unlikely to be made up soon.
Because the balance is tilted in favour of developers, the views of town and parish councils, as well as local communities, will be largely ignored when the applications come in.
There's still protection for green belt and AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) land, or green fields far away from towns, but areas on the edges of our market towns are particularly vulnerable.
Add to this the Planning White paper which is likely to make many of these problems worse, while chasing an
invented notion that planning is an obstacle to progress and jeopardise local democracy as a result.
In the proposed planning white paper Central Government will impose mandatory, top-down housing numbers which local
authorities will have no choice but to accept.
In the new 'Growth' and 'Renewal' zones, developers will automatically get outline planning
Local Plans will no longer have development management policies, so planning applications
in your area will only be judged against national policy.
Your only opportunity to shape this process will be a 6-week consultation window every 5
years to comment on zoning and design codes. If you miss those, you have no say. That's a
massive reduction in your ability to influence decisions affecting your neighbourhood.
Permitted Development rights mean many other changes will happen without the need for
planning permission, and therefore without public scrutiny.
Changes to the developer contributions regime and a new Infrastructure Levy claim to help
provide affordable housing, but the small print shows it might do the opposite.
The top-down housing numbers and zoning might spell the end for Neighbourhood
Planning and Localism, despite some warm words.
Requirements for new homes to be zero-carbon will be pushed back to 2050, undermining
communities' efforts to address the Climate Emergency.
We need change in the planning process but the White paper fails to address what is needed and creates it's own problems.