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Former prime minister hits out at ‘ill-conceived’ planning reforms

By 08/10/2020No Comments

Theresa May has slammed the government’s plans for a new formula to measure housing need as part of its wider plans to reform the planning system.

Former prime minister Theresa May said the proposals do not guarantee that more homes will be built (picture: Parliament TV)

Former prime minister Theresa May said the proposals do not guarantee that more homes will be built (picture: Parliament TV)

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“The problem with these proposals, the problem with this algorithm on housing numbers, is that it doesn’t guarantee a single extra home being built,” said @theresa_may #UKhousing


Speaking during a debate in the House of Commons today, the former prime minister and MP for Maidenhead branded the government’s plans “mechanistic” and “ill conceived”.

She said: “The problem with these proposals, the problem with this algorithm on housing numbers, is that it doesn’t guarantee a single extra home being built and far from levelling up, it forces more investment into London and the South.

A new formula for calculating housing need within local authorities was proposed by the government in August as part of its Planning White Paper.



Ms May’s criticisms of the plan echoed those of the Local Government Association (LGA), which has previously warned that the new formula would see fewer homes delivered in the North.

An analysis by the LGA calculated that London would be expected to see a 161% increase in housing delivery under the new formula, while Newcastle would see a 66% decrease.

The Planning White Paper proposes to introduce a zonal planning system that would see homes in designated growth areas granted automatic planning permission.

A new Infrastructure Levy has also been proposed to replace Section 106, one of the primary mechanisms for delivering affordable housing in the UK.

Ms May added: “We need to reform the planning system, we need to make sure that our planning system sees the right number of homes being built in the right places, but we won’t do that by removing local democracy, cutting the number of affordable homes that will be built and building over rural areas – and that is exactly what these reforms will lead to.

“We do need to build more homes, but we won’t do that by forcing local authorities to grant more planning permissions to developers so they can build more homes to bring the price down, because developers simply won’t do it.”

The government has previously said that the new Infrastructure Levy will deliver “at least as much” affordable housing as Section 106, however it is not yet clear how the new levy will work in practice.

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