Many thanks to those who have contacted me about the Planning White Paper.
At the heart of planning are the homes we live in, the schools our children go to and the parks and green spaces we visit. While our planning system works well in some areas, it is clear it does not work as it should. The white paper sets out this very ambitious vision for much stronger neighbourhood planning.
However, within the White Paper I am concerned there may be a potential for too much bureaucracy, too little engagement with local communities and too much advantage is afforded to large property developers to the detriment of small businesses and even our communities.
Having had multiple meetings with colleagues and third sector bodies about the planning white paper, I fervently believe that the way to square the housing circle (we need more housing, including in our villages, but people don’t want large ugly developments imposed on their neighbourhoods) is through community-led housing. This model puts the power in the hands of local people, letting them determine the location, number and style of new homes, and to gain the benefits of development. The Government’s planning white paper goes some way towards enabling this, but more must be done to support community-led housing and to protect places against disproportionate housing targets.
Local authorities need to have more control over how many homes can be built in our local areas. I appreciate my ministerial colleagues are eager to see more homes built overall across the country, but the new standard method being proposed for housing needs to properly consider land availability as a stronger constraint on the proposed calculations. Not every local area has the infrastructure, public services or amenities required to sustain high numbers of new households and vehicles on the roads. I also do not want to see our local community turned into a sprawl of construction sites for the next decade.
I realise this topic raises strong feelings in many and I have no doubt the Government will take a very close look at the feedback. On this issue, I want to ensure the reforms will be balanced and considerate of the unique circumstances of our communities in Wiltshire.
The National Community Land Trust Network recently invited me to give a speech outlining my views in further detail. This can be found here: https://www.dannykruger.org.uk/news/speech-national-community-land-trus…