Planning and greenfields


           I have been receiving a number of emails drafted as part of a national camapign from constituents, urging me to ensure the new planning policy protects areas of landscape value. The new Planning Policy does keep safe Green Belt, ANOB and SSSI designaitons, all national areas of prtotection which will remain. It also allows Councils to perotect other areas from development.

           As constituents will know, I have always been a keen advocate of protecting many of Wokingham’s remaining greenfields. This proved difficult under the previous planning policy, where top down housing targets forced development on flood plain and in other unsuitable locations through the system of appeals against Council decisions.

            I also wish to see sufficient new homes available, as I strongly support home ownership and wish a new generation of young people to have the opportunity to acquire their own homes. The new Planning Policy should allow these two important aims to be reconciled at the local level. Instead of regional and naitonal government deciding how many homes will be built in each Council area, and awarding planning permissions on appeal whatever local feeling may be, the main driver of the new system is the local Plan.

             Local Councils can under local Plans decide how many homes should be built and where they should be built. By definition this also means they can decide where new development is not permitted. Wokingham Council already has a local Plan. Councillors have proposed substantial new development in four main locations. In  order to protect the rest of the District and to get the full benefits they see from more concentrated development they need to  make sure their local Plan gives the proper Plan protections to the rest of our greenfields. They will have my full support in doing this.

          I will of course support local communities and the Council on appeal should green areas be subject to planning demands by developers. It will only be possible to win these appeals if the local Plan is clear about the areas that are being protected.


  1. Rebecca Hanson
    September 10, 2011

    “Instead of regional and national government deciding how many homes will be built in each Council area, and awarding planning permissions on appeal whatever local feeling may be, the main driver of the new system is the local Plan.”

    What about education? Why should each school be administrated by central government and all local planning be shut down?

    1. lifelogic
      September 10, 2011

      Schools do not need any body between the parents and the school local, national or the EU so long as the parents have freedom to choose politics and religion should be kept out of them.

      On the general planning point I would urge that they let people build what there is demand for not central planning control and not silly toy houses on narrow toy streets in the middle of nowhere – with toy garages and drives and halls and rooms that can never be expanded or improved as needed.

      For affordable houses get rid of the OTT building regulations and green stuff, and the stamp duty and energy certificates and relax planning rules some what.

  2. Mark
    September 11, 2011

    If you wish to see a new generation able to afford homes then you should encourage the government and the banks to let house prices fall, rather than propping them up with over-large mortgages and subsidised payments and excessive forbearance. That will do far more than building a few extra houses to make those dreams possible.

  3. Matt
    September 11, 2011

    The proposed changes to the planning system will not have a huge impact on development. However once again the government have failed to explain what they are doing and why in such a way that they bring people with them. The government wants people to think they are implementing fundamental change in all sorts of areas. If they really do want that level of change they need to work harder selling the ideas to the country. Otherwise they risk more u-turns as per the forestry debacle, Pickles’ numerous pronouncements on local government and financial reform. For a government run by a PR expert they have a poor grasp of PR.

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