Monday, 02 March 2015

Pickles rejects criticism of planning reforms

Eric Pickles has defended his decision to scrap house building targets, following criticism by a parliamentary committee.

The communities secretary said the abolition of regional house building targets and reforms of the planning system are central to boosting homes and jobs.

Mr Pickles announced his intention to scrap regional spatial strategies, which contained the targets, in July last year through the Localism Bill.

He said house building is now rising and is up 22 per cent over the past year to March 2011.

Mr Pickles was formally responding to a report from the body that scrutinises the work of the Department for Communities and Local Government, the communities and local government select committee.

Published in March, this said the abolition of the strategies ‘leaves a vacuum at the heart of the English planning system which could have profound social, economic and environmental consequences set to last for many years’.

Mr Pickles said: ‘The evidence is clear, top down targets simply haven’t worked. Under the previous government we saw the lowest peacetime house building rates since 1924 and resentment from communities.

‘Bringing about more homes and jobs is a top priority for the government and we are determined to address this problem.’

Readers' comments (8)

  • Chris

    "Pickles rejects criticism"

    The only statement needed when referring to a centralist dictator. Personally a call to the UN for air-strikes to protect the civil population from his extremes seems justified.

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  • Lee Baxter

    Excellent - really really funny joke Chris.

    "a centralist dictator" - i think the technical terms in "democratically elected government minister"

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  • Lies and more lies

    The regional housing targets were not purely set by central government.

    The regional spatial strategies were drawn up by the Regional Assemblies, and then tested and an independent Examination in Public (EiP) The make up of Regional Assemblies included councillors from every principal local authority. These include county, city, borough and district councils and unitary authorities.

    For the South East region these councils included (Berkshire) Bracknell Forest Borough Council ;Reading Borough Council ; Slough Borough Council; West Berkshire Council ; Windsor and Maidenhead Royal Borough Council; Wokingham Borough Council ; (Buckinghamshire) Aylesbury Vale District Council ; Buckinghamshire County Council; Chiltern District Council; Milton Keynes Council; South Bucks District Council; Wycombe District Council (East Sussex) Brighton & Hove City Council ; East Sussex County Council; Eastbourne Borough Council; Hastings Borough Council; Lewes District Council; Rother District Council; Wealden District Council (Hampshire) Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council ; East Hampshire District Council ; Eastleigh Borough Council ; Fareham Borough Council; Gosport Borough Council ; Hampshire County Council; Hart District Council ; Havant Borough Council ; New Forest District Council ; Portsmouth City Council ; Rushmoor Borough Council ; Southampton City Council ; Test Valley Borough Council; Winchester City Council (Isle of Wight) Isle of Wight Council (Kent) Ashford Borough Council ; Canterbury City Council ; Dartford Borough Council ; Dover District Council; Gravesham Borough Council ; Kent County Council ; Maidstone Borough Council ; Medway Council ; Sevenoaks District Council; Shepway District Council; Swale Borough Council; Thanet District Council; Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council; Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (Oxfordshire) Cherwell District Council ;Oxford City Council ; Oxfordshire County Council ; South Oxfordshire District Council; Vale of White Horse District Council ;West Oxfordshire District Council (Surrey) ; Elmbridge Borough Council ; Epsom and Ewell Borough Council; Guildford Borough Council ; Mole Valley District Council ; Reigate and Banstead Borough Council ; Runnymede Borough Council ; Spelthorne Borough Council ; Surrey County Council ; Surrey Heath Borough Council ; Tandridge District Council ; Waverley Borough Council ; Woking Borough Council And (West Sussex) Adur District Council ; Arun District Council; Chichester District Council ; Crawley Borough Council ; Horsham District Council ; Mid Sussex District Council ; West Sussex County Council ; Worthing Borough Council. Plus 30% of the Regional Assembly was made up from, Economic Partners and Social & Environmental Partners, for the South East Region this included strong representation from the South East’s Housing Sector.

    Housing grow needs to be carefully plan for, complex issues such road and road inter changes need to be fully understand, as does the effect of new buildings have on the water supply and the nature environment this cannot be entirely completed at the local authority level if every local authority goes off and does it own plan without consideration for neighbouring authority plans.

    If the truth can be told for once in fact the Labour Government were not happy with housing numbers in the South East Plan / the South East’s regional spatial strategy and challenged this at the EIP only for the independent panel to reject many of the governments arguments

    If regional spatial strategies are such a bad idea why does the London Plan the regional spatial strategy for London remain in force?

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  • Chris

    Apologies Lee - I did not mean to ignore you earlier, so please do not be offended by my lack of earlier reply.

    I'm pleased to have finally given you something to smile about, and may your love of Mr Pickles be fruitful for you. I'm sure deep down he is a really nice guy who's only aim in life is to serve and be understood.

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  • Rick Campbell

    That lovely Mr Pickles (perhaps he's being stalked?) was indeed elected -- so was Hitler I think.

    However, he wasn't elected to be communities secretary, was he?

    He was appointed to that position and gets a few bob for doing it -- for decreeing various things .. dictats I think they are called.

    Hmmmmmmm, it must be very difficult for some people to see how "dictat" and "dictator" are connected?

    That lovely M

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  • Rick Campbell

    That lovely Mr Pickles is well known for accepting criticism then?

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  • What is the point of this? To suggest that levels of housebuilding collapsed because of the existence of any form of target is beyond laughable.... but not, possibly, as laughable as this specimen of a Secretary of State. Lehman Brothers, anyone?

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  • Bernard not as laughable as you may at first think.

    One the Regional Spatial Strategies were sign off after the EIP, the housing numbers then become a legal requirement not a target, which meant each and every local authority had to plan for this level of housing growth, in the their LDFs (local development frameworks). They could not off set this level of housing growth by the use windfall sites. These are sites that become available during the year and are suitable to housing that are out of the LDF and have not already been planned for.

    Why do you think a number of developers have been trying to take Mr Pickles to court and have the Regional Spatial Strategies reinstated?

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