New Planning Minister – Housing Needs to be Built in Areas with Strong Local Opposition

The Negotiator reportingh from Conference

New housing minister Lee Rowley has admitted houses need to be built in areas where there is strong local opposition.

He told a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference there will be tensions, but “we have to treat people like adults”.

“We have to be straightforward with people – we have to be clear, we need more houses. If we do, that, most people will respond,” he said.

Rowley, who is the MP for North East Derbyshire, where 38% of the land is green belt, said: “We need to explain the implications in more detail than we have done previously.”

He was given the housing portfolio in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities last month, as one of a number of appointments under new Prime Minister Liz Truss.

As part of his brief, Rowley has responsibility for housing strategy, including the supply of new homes, as well as planning reform.

He also told the ConservativeHome meeting in Birmingham that the planning process needs to be speeded up.

“There is a challenge with time and how long it takes. Due process is extremely important, but equally we want to make sure we have got the balance right.”

Rowley was previously the minister for construction before resigning with four other ministerial colleagues, and calling for PM Boris Johnson to quit. He became the thirteenth housing minister since 2010.

You can watch the fringe meeting here

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