The Sun – May Blocks Plan to Relax Green Belt around Stations in South East

James Forysth – The Sun – essentially the same proposal that May blocked from the Housing Green Paper

“Building the homes our country needs so everyone can afford a place to call their own,” is the Tories’ new policy priority according to No10.

But Theresa May has been resistant to the kind of planning reform that would mean enough houses get built where people actually want to live.

I am told she has even knocked on the head a plan that would see houses allowed to be built within half a mile of train stations in the green belt in areas of high demand.

This small change would have led to tens of thousands of much-needed new homes in London and the South East. But even this was too much for No10. May’s own caution on this issue is being reinforced by the whip’s office, who are warning that Tory MPs in leafy seats won’t like any changes to the planning regime

The budget is another problem because there isn’t a Tory majority in the Commons

This is the Budget’s other problem: Hammond isn’t just constrained by the financial limits on the Government.

It now takes only a handful of Tory rebels to kill a policy as there is no Tory majority in the Commons.

As one minister who sympathises with Hammond’s position puts it: “This is why doing anything bold is impossible. If you do bold stuff, you p*** people off.”

This actually is pretty crude – many of these stations will be in AONB, or flood plains, many have poor access, or are barely halts on branch lines with poor capacity, and where building 5,000 homes with limited spare public transport capacity would see country lanes clogged with traffic.  In many cases it would be more sustainable to release land next to a large town served by BRT.  This is why its crude stupid planning to release land through a crude sweep of the pen change without planning.  Bad schoolboy politics is no substitute to good planning.  What national policy should say is the ability to service a site with sustainable transport is a material consideration im considering whether exceptional circumstances exist as to whether a site should be released from Green Belt; that is all it needs to say.  Creating big holes in Green Belt around stations is the worst kind of unthinking ‘planning reform’

One thought on “The Sun – May Blocks Plan to Relax Green Belt around Stations in South East

  1. Pingback: Why @sajidjavid , Hammonds & @GarvinBarwell Green Belt Plan would have very little impact | Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

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