Community action or NIMBYism? Ensuring local democracy in planning
Time & Location
About the Event
Rt. Hon. Christoper Pincher MP, Minister for Housing
Bruce Buckland, Architect
Chair: Cllr Maria Higson, Leaders of the CPF National Discussion Forum on Housing, Communities and Local Government
In the complete re-think of planning, how can we maintain the community voice? How do we ensure that every region is playing its part, without damaging the beauty of the country? And how can we ensure that those benefitting from house building are heard as loudly as those feeling the drawbacks?
Housing is one of the biggest issues on the political agenda, ranked 7th in a YouGov poll ahead of the 2019 election, ahead of education, welfare, and tax. Politically, the Conservatives cannot afford to avoid the issue of affordability as home ownership continues to have a major influence on voting intention.
However, planning can make or break a community. If successful, it can ensure sustainability, beauty and local relationships. However, as any Councillor will know, planning can cause disputes between neighbours and neighbourhoods. As the government's own "Planning for the Future" white paper admits, building homes is a controversial business.
Community engagement and buy-in is critical to success. The white paper proposes a number of changes to give communities a greater say, with significant focuses on technology, streamlining, and local plans and design codes. However, there is a long way to go between a white paper, and a new planning system. Perhaps most telling is the comment that those most likely to benefit from house building are often not heard loudly enough, whilst consultation tends to be dominated by those willing to navigate the process; how can this be avoided in the development of policy itself?
The 2019 manifesto gave a housebuilding target of 300,000 per year; this may be a national pledge, but it will have a real impact on communities across the country, and that requires the support of local democracy.