Former Minister – Planning Reforms will make Suburbs like East Berlin


PLANNING reforms would lead to a “disastrous urbanisation of the suburbs”, a former Conservative Cabinet minister has warned, with some areas forced to take the equivalent of several new towns each.

Analysis shows that Tory seats around London, Nottingham and Worcester will be forced to take tens of thousands of additional new homes due to reforms dubbed a “mutant planning algorithm”.

Many Tory MPS are up in arms over plans to use an algorithm which is being proposed to overhaul housing forecasts. A consultation on the plans closes on Thursday.

The plans, reportedly the invention of Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings, will deliver an additional five million homes across England over the next 15 years, with nearly a third in rural counties.

Analysis of the changes by the House of Commons library show that many of the new homes are being forced on town suburbs while town centres escape the targets.

In Nottingham, the reforms will result in new homes falling by 11 per cent – or 1,686 new homes – in the town centre, while in neighbouring Rushcliffe numbers rise by 4,200 or by 36 per cent over 15 years.

Similarly while Worcester will get just a 2 per cent rise in extra homes over 15 years, nearby Wychavon will make room for 13,000 new homes, an increase of 191 per cent.

In Leicester the reforms will cut new homes by 2,400 (13 per cent), yet increase the need for homes in neighbouring Harborough by 93 per cent (8,972 new homes).

Around London, Tory controlled boroughs are significantly hit with numbers of additional new homes required in Barnet (up 145 per cent or 50,925 over 15 years), Bexley (up 303 per cent to 20,260) and Bromley (up 288 per cent or 27,695).

Theresa Villiers, who held Tory Cabinet positions between 2012 and 2020, told The Daily Telegraph: “The targets generated by this algorithm could lead to a disastrous urbanisation of the suburbs, forcing high-rise blocks into quiet, low-rise neighbourhoods.

“Unless big changes are made to these numbers, there is a real threat that monolithic East Berlin-style development will change life in the suburbs forever.”