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Labour to reverse Gove's planning reforms as industry voices concerns

Labour to reverse Gove's planning reforms as industry voices concerns

Labour has declared its intention to overturn proposed changes to the national planning policy framework (NPPF) on the first day of a new government, signalling a divergence in approach from current housing policies. This announcement comes amidst industry feedback on Housing Secretary Michael Gove's revised NPPF.

Under Labour's proposed local housing recovery plan, housing targets would become mandatory, with reinforced mechanisms for enforcement. The party also pledges to urge councils to prioritise approvals for applications in areas lacking up-to-date plans where development has stalled.

Gove's unveiling of the new planning policy at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) headquarters saw mixed reactions. While acknowledging the government's efforts to streamline the planning system, industry experts expressed apprehensions regarding potential undersupply of houses and the impact on commercial developments.

Victoria Hills, CEO of the Royal Town Planning Institute, highlighted concerns that local plans might lead to housing undersupply due to considerations like Green Belt protection. Similarly, Jack Pringle, Chair of the RIBA Board, emphasised the need for a simpler, faster planning system with predictable outcomes.

However, Victoria Du Croz from law firm Forsters raised doubts about the efficacy of Gove's reforms in addressing the housing crisis, suggesting they may fall short of delivering additional housing. Ian Fletcher, Policy Director of the British Property Federation, criticised the government for diluting its own targets, potentially impeding housing and commercial development.

In contrast, Darren Rodwell, Labour leader of Barking & Dagenham council, welcomed the decision to make housing targets advisory, asserting that planning isn't a barrier to house building. Muniya Barua from BusinessLDN urged caution in Gove's focus on boosting housing supply in London, stressing the need for collaboration across all levels of government.

As Labour outlines its stance and industry voices concerns, the future of housing policy in the UK remains subject to ongoing debate and scrutiny.


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