Responding to calls from senior government aides for major reforms to the planning system, Tom Fyans, campaigns and policy director at CPRE, the countryside charity, said: ‘The deregulation drumbeat is getting louder, but we know from bitter experience the issue is not the planning system making things hard to build. It is currently far too easy to build poor quality housing – our research with the University College London shows that over three quarters of large new housing developments built in the past decade have been mediocre or poor and should never had been given planning permission. We’re also in real danger of creating a whole new generation of car dependent estates in the middle of nowhere if the government persists with deregulation and lax planning policies.
‘The planning system is the unsung hero for protecting many green spaces that have been a haven for people through lockdown. The protection and improvement of our Green Belts and other countryside next door, as the government has already pledged, should be the priority. We must empower local communities and raise standards for delivering well-connected, zero carbon new homes that are linked to public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure. Only by making the planning system more robust and better funded will the government begin to improve it’s already dismal track record on delivering quality and genuinely affordable housing.’