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CPRE respond to government consultation on updates to national planning policy and guidance

Thursday, 13 December 2018 10:48


Below is CPRE’s robust response to the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government’s (MHC&LG) “Technical consultation on updates to national planning policy and guidance”

CPRE’s National Office response highlights our very serious concerns over the range of very poorly considered proposals made in this consultation document.

The consultation sought views on 2 principal issues:

• Changes to planning practice guidance relating to the standard method for assessing local housing need
• Policy clarifications relating to housing land supply, the definition of deliverable and appropriate assessment.

The government’s proposals contained in the above consultation, particularly those regarding Local Housing Need Assessment, have caused considerable concern to CPRE and amongst Local Authorities in Bedfordshire and elsewhere.

The reason for the concern is that the proposed changes will result in a massive increase in the number of new homes that Bedford Borough Council (BBC) will be obliged to build and an increase in the release of even more Greenfield land for development.

We believe that Central Bedfordshire Councils (CBC) plans will also be similarly impacted by the proposals.

With regard to the proposed change to the calculation of housing supply, BBC have issued a letter to all Town & Parish Councils part of which states:

“...It is particularly relevant to Bedford Borough because if introduced, the proposed change to the calculation of housing supply would significantly reduce the number of years’ housing land that we have available. At present the Council can show a healthy 5.8 years of housing land supply. The consultation document proposes that for the determination of planning applications (so not for local plan purposes which are covered by transitional arrangements which allow us to keep our own locally based calculations) the new standard method for calculating housing need must be used immediately. In those circumstances we would have around 3.5 years of supply...”

BBC must show a 5 year housing land supply so the proposals from the MHC&LG will result in a flood of opportunistic planning applications from developers and BBC will be powerless to refuse them.

CBC have not commented publically on how the proposals will impact them but we believe that they will also be obliged to increase housing numbers well above their Local Plan 2035 level.

CPRE is particularly concerned because the government wishes to totally disregard the 2016 housing numbers determined independently by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and replace them with discredited 2014 figures previously determined by the MHC&LG.

The Consultation can be read here.

CPRE’s National Office response can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.


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