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A cause for celebration: the government rethink planning changes

16th December 2020

The government’s controversial plans to change the systems that control what gets built and where have been changed. It’s a great sign that the government is listening – and that CPRE’s campaigning has been noticed.

The unpopular element of the plans that included using an algorithm to dictate what numbers of houses should be built in each area has been adjusted, much to our delight.

Commenting on the government’s changes to the housing algorithm and support for brownfield development announced today, Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE, the countryside charity, said:

‘We are pleased to see the government is listening and willing to revise their damaging proposals. Building more affordable homes on previously developed land in more sustainable locations is something we‘ve been calling for and is a win-win scenario for people and nature.  But the problems with these planning proposals run much deeper than the housing algorithm, which are in need of a complete reboot, not just an update. Today’s announcement could be the start of a much-needed debate about how to ensure the right development in the right place across the whole country.

'We’re therefore urging Ministers to go further. Shifting the focus from rural to urban house building and ensuring we make better use of previously developed land is a good start. Our analysis has found over one million homes could be built on brownfield or recycled land, many of which already have planning permission. Alongside redistribution of housing schemes like the New Homes Bonus, these changes could be a real stepping stone to levelling up the country and providing the affordable homes communities are crying out for.'
Crispin Truman, CPRE

The key test for these changes to the housing algorithm will be whether they help give local councils the ability to plan the quality, affordable homes we need, while preventing unnecessary loss of countryside and green spaces. It’s time for Ministers to go further and make sure we breathe new life into our towns and cities, whilst building more affordable and responding to the climate emergency. Only with a locally-led planning system that encourages input from local communities will this be achievable.’

We did a lot of work on the Government’s housing algorithm and what it would mean for Gloucestershire. 

We welcome today’s news, particularly the focus on brownfield and prominence of green space, but there is more we want to see from the Government and we’ll be keeping a close eye on further developments.

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