Campaigners call for a reform of planning system which is “stacked against communities”

The country is under siege from “a wave of executive homes” which are unaffordable to many and too much overdevelopment, says a new group.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 11:56 am

The Community Planning Alliance brings together individuals and groups from all over the country who are fighting developments and has 400 members so far.

Claire Baker is one of the founding members of the Alliance. She was one of the leading campaigners against the Avant Homes development at Owlthorpe Fields and hopes her experience with Owlthorpe Action Group will help others starting out on planning battles.

She said: “The Community Planning Alliance is concerned about the implications of the Government’s announcement that it is pressing forward with laws to make planning quicker and faster for developers.

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Owlthorpe fields.

“There is nothing in the announcement about affordable housing. Nor does it address how developers will be forced to build out existing permissions or how councils should focus on bringing back empty homes into use.

“The Government is once again sending out a strong signal that its priorities are skewed towards helping higher income groups to climb the property ladder while lower income groups are left behind.

“The forthcoming Planning Bill will likely lead to more speculative land acquisition and building of largely unaffordable housing.”

The Alliance is also lobbying for a reform of the planning system.

“Volunteer groups all over the country are having to find time and money to fight environmental battles and to save much-loved landscapes from a wave of executive homes unaffordable to many.

“The system is stacked against communities and against the environment and is failing to provide the affordable homes the country desperately needs.

“We want community involvement at all stages of the planning process – true participation, not just consultation that is then ignored.

“We need a system that prioritises affordable housing, especially social housing, and is based on accurate population and household predictions

“And the planning system should be one which protects and enforces, overseen by independent ecologists.”

A planning inspector recently found in favour of Avant Homes at an appeal, giving the developer approval to build new homes on a wildlife haven.