McVey Treating ”Every Blade of Grass” as if it were Green Belt – is this the most incompetent and unhelpful speech ever made by a planning minister

From the full text of here speech isued by the ministry press office, so clerly not a mis-statement

Property Eye

Because greenfield land, greenfield sites, should not be what we turn to, not what we look at first.

Every blade of grass must be looked at before it is changed – and it is only in the most exceptional circumstances we turn there and I can announce today councils will receive a share of nearly £2m to crackdown on illegal development, including in the green belt.

You have to be patient with new planning minister as they grow into there brief and before they issue there first policy statement.

But this is a shocker

  1.  It makes the common error of confusing green field and green belt\
  2. Seems to reintroduce the discredited and unworkable sequential approach to homes
  3. Is a Nimbys wet dream
  4. Will set back every local plan in the country two years
  5. Is a pre-election pitch to a government nervous after losses in local elections in May

Clearly there will be request for clarification.  Was this cleared by the SOS, by the PM, buy the Prime Minister?

What I suspect happened in that civil servents prepared careful text and a green in the tooth spad over edited it to conflate the Green Field and Green Belt paras.  Every planner will recognise this as the same mistake is commonly made by new cllrs.

She is not a details person and given the Spinal Tap drummers curse that planning and housing ministers face she wont last long – especially after such a spectacular cock up.  It is every NIMBY BANANA local groups dream.

Allocating land for housing on non Green Belt sites is not exceptional.  Almost every local plan HAS to do it to meet NPPF policy.  Delivering all brownfield sites first is not practical because so many brownfield sites dont meet NPPF policy (deliverable viable etc.) , and because the data shows there are not enough of them, not nearly enough only around 1 5th of housing in strategic plans year 15-20 years even by the CPRE best estimates.  So is Mc Veys new policy to slow down housing, to allocate less ‘green field housing’.  Her lack of understanding over the realities of english planning is just staggering.  Its like her normal practice of withdrawing disabilities benefits from somewhat after they have died because that is what she has done today, killed off every controversial local plan in the country.  PINS everybody will be seeking clarification

-What did she mean

-Did she understand what she said

-Is it a change of policy

Clearly not I think because she didnt understand in the slightest the meaning or impact of her statement and how it would completely screw up the government’s housing targets.