Justine Greening's view on planning: involve local communities

Justine Greening, MP for Putney and Shadow London minister, is writing to us:

Dear Cyril,

As you’ve seen, we’ve got our developers in Putney too! I think the best way forward is if I put you in touch to meet up with Jane Ellison our Conservative candidate for Battersea. […]

I am a firm believer that we need to make planning as local as possible to communities because they’re best placed to know what will work. If developers ever contact me then I always tell them to consult as much as possible with the community – after all the people who are likely to buy their developments are going to probably like the area and therefore be pretty much like the people who already live there, so finding out what the community wants is actually the best way of making sure that when we get more housing and regeneration it actually works, is something people will want to move into, and that’s in everyone’s interest.

Nationally, on the Conservative side we were against the recent Planning Bill that went through earlier this year, precisely because it took planning further away from local communities – its the one process that people do tend to get involved in. Though Ministers have had top down targets on housing I think the lessons from trying that approach have been that however badly we need to get more housing (and we do have an acute need), you can’t just ram through targets because it just sends a green light out to developers to max out their plots of land whatever the inappropriateness of the design and then communities and their councils vote down development anyway, so we’ve ended up much less new housing nationally than we could have with a planning process that allows communities to have their own debate and reach a more balanced view that works for them.

We’ve got a further policy paper coming out with more ideas shortly, but running through a lot of what we’re saying is that people should be able to better decide for themselves.

I hope that helps and I’ve no doubt Jane will be in touch!

Best Wishes,

Justine

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