The Ministry for Housing and Local Government have recently published two papers for consultation. The first, which is now closed, was all about housing numbers and its flawed algorithm; we objected strongly to this consultation and over 100 of you wrote in and we discussed this fully with our MP.
The second is a more eclectic bunch of proposals endeavouring to make planning more simplified and speedier. As is often the case the devil lies in the detail. Adrian Wise, one of our planning officers, has studied these proposals carefully and believes they would be highly disadvantageous to us. There are three main areas we take strong issue with:
Categorising land into three zones
All land is categorised into three zones and to codify designs so that planning decisions can be made with less local involvement - from residents or councillors (in many cases no local involvement). This is intended to increase the number of planning permissions being granted and thus houses being built. Even plans that are not passed automatically will be fast-tracked – less deliberation and consideration to get decisions more hastily. We are against these changes as we believe that they will risk not only the conservation of the character of our area but also its heritage assets. Consideration of style and character must take precedence over haste.
Contributions to local infrastructure levy
It is also proposed to exempt projects of fewer than 50 homes from contributions to local infrastructure, affordable home provision, etc. This would exempt the majority of development in Elmbridge from such contributions, the opposite of what is required. Elmbridge needs far more investment in infrastructure and far more affordable homes – now is not the time to starve them of the funds for each of these.
Enshrining the Algorithm into an Act of Parliament
Some aspects of this concentration are designed to enshrine the 'mutant algorithm', to set house building targets, into an act of Parliament. If this algorithm or similar were adopted (and we remain hopeful it will not be), making it law would make it even harder to change it in future. We remain adamantly opposed to this algorithm - the prospect of making it even harder to repeal should we not succeed, should be resisted.
as there is so much detail, if it is easier for you, please cut and paste from our response into your email.
Please note the closing date for responses is 11.45pm Thursday 29th October 2020.