Commenting on the government’s proposed changes to the planning system, Rick Hebditch, External Affairs Director at the National Trust, said:
“The planning system is not a barrier to a productive society, it is a key tool to help deliver one. We recognise the need to build more housing so we want to see every council with a local plan in place to deliver those homes. But local authorities have lost more than 40% of their planning team budgets in recent years so it will be hard for them to rise to this challenge while facing the threat of further sanctions with no offer of more support from central government.
“Local plans can also put local communities in the driving seat and facilitate good quality, well designed development in the right places. Today’s announcement on overriding councils and removing the planning approval process on brownfield land appears to do the opposite.
“The commitment to retain the Green Belt and prevent sprawl is, however, welcome.”