Dear Mr Sturdy
I am writing to you because I am deeply concerned about proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
I would be very grateful if you could raise my concerns in writing, as soon as possible, with Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Across England there is already plenty of land with planning permission: enough for at least 650,000 new houses with much more in the pipeline. New proposals, such as the ‘Housing Delivery Test’, could force local authorities to release even more greenfield sites for development unnecessarily. Instead, we should make developers build out land for which they already have planning permission.
I want to see a policy that both prioritises the re-use of suitable brownfield sites in urban areas, and restricts development on competing greenfield sites. Neither the NPPF as it stands, nor the changes proposed, are strong enough to make this happen.
I am also very concerned that over 275,000 houses are being proposed on Green Belt, despite Government commitments to protect it. This is nearly a three-fold increase from when the NPPF was introduced in 2012. We should abandon proposals to relax Green Belt policy and instead make clearer that unnecessary or major losses of Green Belt should be avoided.
Above all, we need to ensure that housing targets are based on a realistic assessment of what developers and local authorities are likely to be able to deliver, rather than aspirational building rates that have never been achieved even in the most buoyant economic times with massive public investment.
Please let me know Greg Clark’s response.