Michael Gove has insisted that the government’s controversial planning reforms have been “mischaracterised” by many people.
The housing secretary, answering questions in the House of Commons yesterday, spoke publicly for the first time about the reforms, which have been dubbed a ‘developer’s charter’ by opponents.
Gove appeared keen to present his impending overhaul of planning policy as an improvement on existing proposals, rather than a complete scrapping of the reforms.
He said: “It is only fair to say that the planning white paper was mischaracterised by many.
“There is so much that is good in it, but it is important that we listen to concerns that were expressed in order to ensure that an already powerful and compelling suite of proposals is even more effective.”
Gove had earlier said he was currently considering all the responses to the white paper and will make announcements “on the next steps in due course.”
The controversy was blamed by many for the Conservatives’ shock by-election defeat in Chesham and Amersham earlier this year.
Gove also said in yesterday’s debate that “many people would welcome new housing development enthusiastically” if they had the assurance of knowing that there was “sufficient investment in infrastructure” so that there was not additional pressure on public services and utilities. He said this has been incorporated into the government’s thinking on planning reform.