Planning Reforms: Open letter to our Conservative MPs


The government has done another U-turn and is now having a rethink about the planning reforms it planned to introduce. We welcome this, and hope it will lead to them helping developers build all the houses that already have planning permission. The local Liberal Democrat team have written an open letter to our Conservative MPs asking them to urge the government to introduce legislation that:

  • Ensure planning permissions are acted upon and built.
  • Ensure developers don't wriggle out of commitments to make 20% of all new builds affordable housing.
  • Ensure all new builds are carbon neutral.
  • Accelerate the reclamation of brownfield sites to protect open space and Green Belt.

Dear Ms Richards and Mr Bailey,

Buying your first home was once a milestone young people could expect to celebrate. Now, young people don't dare dream of owning a home. The housing ladder has been pulled up. They have been priced out of even reaching the first rung. All because demand exceeds supply. It's time to start building all the housing that has already been approved!

The housing crisis affects us all in different ways, the young more than most. Young parents can't afford the quality housing their children need. Young people and students have no option but to enter into expensive and exploitative rent agreements - sometimes even having to spend more than half of their income on rent. They are forced to choose or lose jobs based on where they can or cannot afford to live.

Around 40% of homes granted planning permission are not being built because of weak legislation which allows developers to dodge planning permission obligations. In Sandwell, developers have sat on approved developments for decades in some cases. Of the homes actually being built, only a small percentage are future proof by meeting zero-carbon standards.

We welcome your support for prioritising use of brownfield sites, but are concerned that the Government’s changes to planning laws will reward developers by making it easier for them circumvent local scrutiny. In the Black Country, there are over 2,000 previously approved planning applications that have not been built, and across the whole country there are over a million homes that have yet to be built despite having approval. The problem is not that Councils are not allowing houses to be built, but that developers are not building what has already been approved.

Local campaigners, Daisy Shone and Bob Smith, and the local Liberal Democrat team are calling on the government to legislate now to:

  • Ensure planning permissions are acted upon and built.
  • Ensure developers don't wriggle out of commitments to make 20% of all new builds affordable housing.
  • Ensure all new builds are carbon neutral.
  • Commit to funding the retrofitting of existing homes to make them carbon neutral by 2030.
  • Accelerate the reclamation of brownfield sites to protect open space and Green Belt.
  • Allow for alternatives such as community land trusts, or co-operatives, to ensure that local communities have a say in how local land is used.

We urge you to prioritise existing approved sites rather than reward developers by easing planning regulations that add to the backlog of approved applications.

Yours faithfully,

Daisy Shone, local campaigner

Bob Smith, local campaigner

Mark Smith, Chair, Sandwell Liberal Democrats

Sadie Smith, former Mayor of Sandwell and Honorary Alderman

Manjit Lall, local campaigner

Amanda Jenkins, local campaigner


Share this post on social media:

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Email.