Letter: Can Mr Jeremy Quin MP answer these questions?

10th September 2020

Letter published by the West Sussex County Times, 10 September 2020

Sir,

Can Mr Jeremy Quin MP answer these questions?

Under the heading ‘Making sure planning is done right’ Horsham’s MP, Mr Jeremy Quin, referring to the ‘Planning for the future’ White Paper, summarises why the Government has ‘launched a consultation’ on ‘planning reform’ (WSCT 3/09/20).

He acknowledges that the ‘basis’ on which housing is allocated should be ‘reasonable and proportionate’. Likewise, the urgent need for ‘affordable homes’, ‘improved services and well-coordinated infrastructure’. 

Has Mr Quin closely examined not only the ‘reforms’ proposed in Government’s White Paper to which he refers, but also those set-out in the related ‘Changes to the current planning system’ consultation?  Has he carefully considered resultant ramifications for his constituency and constituents? 

Is Mr Quin aware that the Government’s ‘new method’ minimum target for Horsham District is 1,715 houses per year, 30,870 over the period of HDC’s new plan? 

Would he agree that a target of that magnitude is neither reasonable nor proportionate? And does he understand the workings of the ‘new method’?

Is he aware that the Government’s proposals, if adopted, would reduce proportionally, not increase, the delivery of genuinely ‘affordable’ homes delivered? 

Is he aware that under the Government’s new planning regime areas identified for ‘substantial development’ would be designated ‘Growth Areas’ with automatic approval for development, and placed under the control of ‘Development Corporations’ – Government appointed quangos that would not be accountable to communities?

Is he aware that the White Paper neither acknowledges nor addresses the fundamental reality that developers and housebuilders will not build more houses than can be sold at an acceptable to them profit – and in the event of diminishing sales, due to economic downturn, will reduce build rates regardless of targets set by the Government for councils? 

Is he concerned that rather than challenge and call to account developers/builders, the Government prefers to blame councils and communities?

I reside in Mr Quin’s constituency and I suggest that it would be beneficial to all if he were to answer these questions and make clear his views on these crucial matters through the pages of the WSCT. 

After all he is our elected representative at Westminster.

Yours faithfully,

Dr R F Smith