Gove’s Move To Allow Councils To Block Housing On Greenbelt Prompts Criticism

Block Housing On Greenbelt

Block Housing On Greenbelt, critics have warned that Michael Gove’s plans to make it easier for councils to refuse new constructions on the greenbelt will hinder efforts to address the UK’s housing problem.

Local authorities are not required to set aside greenfield land for new dwellings, according to the Housing Secretary in a speech on housebuilding on Tuesday.

Gove’s Move To Allow Councils To Block Housing On Greenbelt Prompts Criticism

Block Housing On GreenbeltHe proposed a variety of measures to improve planning performance across the system in his speech to the Royal Institute of British Architects in central London, including naming and shaming local planning authorities who are too sluggish to reply to applications.

According to him, the government will publish “robust league tables” to expose councils’ poor planning performance.

However, Mr Gove noted that local governments will be entitled to refuse development if it dramatically alters the character of an area or has an impact on the greenbelt.

It comes after Mr Sunak scrapped forced housing ambitions last year to avoid a Tory backbench rebellion, instead opting to make the 300,000 target in England advisory.

According to the National Housing Federation, the modifications “effectively relax local housing targets, resulting in fewer homes.”

Mr. Gove stated in his speech: “Local authorities have the comfort of knowing that they need not redraw the greenbelt or sacrifice protected landscapes to meet housing numbers.”

He stated that new developments must be beautiful, have local infrastructure, be locally agreed upon, be environmentally conscious, and have a neighborhood feel.

However, the Cabinet minister denied caving down to Nimbys, or those pushing for ‘not in my backyard’. When asked if he was bowing into Tory MP pressure, he answered, “Absolutely not.”

“There are perfectly reasonable reasons to oppose development if it is unappealing if it is not accompanied by infrastructure, if it significantly alters the character of an area, or if it harms the environment.”

“It’s only right that local people can have the chance through the planning system to safeguard the environment and protect the character of the places in which they live.”

He stressed that his plans make it plain that there is “no excuse” for local governments not to have a housing plan in place, and “no excuse for not delivering on that plan.”

Local governments will have three months to develop strategies to meet their area’s housing needs. Those who fail to meet the deadline risk having developments pushed upon them, and councilors may lose their ability to delay applications.

The National Housing Federation’s chief executive, Kate Henderson, cautioned that the plans “risk undermining the country’s ability to build the homes we desperately need.”

“These changes, which effectively relax local housing targets, will result in fewer homes; and, while encouraging councils to build and approve applications, they will not be sufficient to offset this risk.”

“We’re concerned measures to protect the greenbelt at any cost will prevent otherwise sustainable developments, close to existing communities, from being built.”

Mr Gove also announced plans for a massive expansion of about 150,000 additional houses in the Cambridge area during his address. And, by launching a review of the city’s housing plan, he set up a battle with London Mayor Sadiq Khan over the capital’s housing supply.

“Londoners will not be fooled by desperate distraction tactics from a Tory Government that crashed the economy and condemned millions to mortgage misery and rocketing rents,” a source close to Mr Khan said.

“The Mayor will take no lessons from a Government – and a housing minister in Michael Gove – that have such a shameful record and have repeatedly intervened to block the new housing the capital desperately needs.”

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