Tuesday 13 July 2021 / 10:30 PM Local Government / Steve Reed

Labour challenges Conservative rebels to back “Use it or lose it” Planning Bill

Labour will today introduce legislation in the House of Commons to protect local communities’ voices and speed up housebuilding, and challenge Conservative MPs to back it.

Labour’s Planning and Local Representation Bill will impose a time limit on planning applications to incentivise faster building completion alongside giving communities the right to fair hearing in planning applications.

In contrast, Conservative proposals announced in the Queen’s Speech are a Developers’ Charter that will limit communities from engaging in individual planning decisions and wrench control from councils to developers.

Labour analysis of Electoral Commission figures show that the Conservative Party has accepted at least £16.75m from companies or individuals involved in the property industry since 2016, and £11m alone in Boris Johnson’s first year as Prime Minister.

The number of planning permissions granted by councils for new homes has more than doubled since 2010, with nine in 10 planning applications approved.

But research by the Conservative-led LGA found that fewer than half of planning applications granted in the previous decade have been built out, with 1.1 million homes granted permission yet to be built.

Steve Reed MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said:

“The Conservatives plan to pay back developers by selling out communities. Residents will be gagged from objecting to inappropriate and oversized developments so developers can make vast profits at local people’s expense. 

“That’s the opposite of the partnership between communities, councils and developers that is the bedrock of regeneration that works in everyone’s interests.

“If the Government really wanted to build more homes, they’d encourage developers to build the million homes that already have planning permission but haven’t been built.”