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.’