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Letter: Planning policy changes give councils ‘no control’

19th June 2020

Letter published by West Sussex Gazette, 17 June 2020.


Planning policy changes would give councils ‘no control’.

According to national press reports, the government ‘is considering a ‘zonal planning system’ where ‘planning rules will be relaxed‘ and ‘key decisions will be taken from local councils and handed to development corporations’. (Planning Resource, 8 June and 11 June 2020). 

In essence, it would appear that the Government is blaming and punishing councils for the under-delivery of housing against local plan targets, when in reality, and because of Government policy, councils have no control over build rates, which developers/house builders decide – and reduce when they are unable to sell at an acceptable-to-them profit, hence Legal and General’s decision to delay housebuilding North of Horsham.

Furthermore, taking key decisions from councils and handing them to development corporations would make nonsense of the Government’s claim that changes now being considered would make it easier for communities to engage and play a role in decisions which affect them. This would seem to be a cynical reversal of truth.  

What say the District’s representatives at Westminster, Jeremy Quin MP and Andrew Griffith MP?

Yours faithfully,

Dr R F Smith