Friday, 4 June 2010

Government Scraps South East Plan

This week, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced that the government is scrapping all Regional Strategies, which impose top-down housing targets on local communities. Here in Elmbridge, the South East Plan had piled the pressure on our greenbelt, and other open spaces, by dictating the building of almost 6,000 new housing units.

Mr Pickles has written to all local authorities, including Elmbridge, relieving them of those arbitrary targets, and indicating that housing policy in the future will be set by communities. This is critical to protecting our greenbelt, but also signals a broader sea-change of approach. I will be pressing hard to ensure that this is just a first step towards much stronger local democracy over a range of bread and butter decisions that impact on community life.

3 comments:

stevebax said...

This is good news. All too often in recent years I have seen councillors vote through housing schemes that local people don't want, because to do otherwise would mean defeat on appeal and the council having to pay costs. The decision to put power back in the hands of locally elected councillors is the best arrangement for democracy.

Lady Stum said...

What now will be the plan for the building of affordable housing, in particular houses to rent. There are many that will never be able to afford to buy or rent privately in this area.

Dom Raab said...

The balance between preventing urban sprawl and building housing is for local communities to decide. But, the government plans to incentivise the building of affordable housing by giving local authorities a greater share of the revenue raised from property sales. A bit more carrot, and a bit less stick!

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