Lewis hits out at ‘toxic’ planning conditions
Housing and planning minster Brandon Lewis has hit out at the inappropriate use of ‘toxic’ planning conditions. He has pledged that the new Neighbourhood and Infrastructure Bill announced in the recent Queen’s Speech would tackle this issue.
The minister told MPs that he has seen examples of planning approvals with over 800 pre-commencement conditions attached to them. “Many members of all parties will have had residents affected, or seen for themselves, examples of sites where permission has been granted, yet they have not been built on. It is most frustrating for a community to see that, and we need to put an end to it.”
Lewis added that gaining planning permission is only half the battle. Most sites are then drowned in pre-commencement conditions, which creates disillusion with the entire planning system. It is important that control of where building takes place stays in the hands of local communities.
The new bill is not about taking away any protections or checks, it is to speed up the process and ensure legitimate concerns are addressed without holding up production of the houses that we need.
The minister added: “Needless uncertainty does nothing to protect the countryside or to guarantee good design. What it does is restrict home building to the biggest players. The bill will ensure communities have the tools that they need to diversify development, enabling both quantity and quality to be achieved in house building”.