‘WE have congested roads, over-subscribed schools, serious flooding issues and countryside that is valued and in short supply’ – words used by MP for Arundel and South Downs Nick Herbert at a parliamentary debate last week, in which he voiced concerns over housing development in his constituency.
Mr Herbert was joined at the Westminster Hall debate by a further 16 MPs, representing constituencies across England, all of whom expressed concerns about the planning system.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Herbert said: “Many in communities in my constituency are concerned that inadequate consideration is given to the availability of infrastructure to support development proposals.”
He added housing targets set by district councils should take into account local ability, including the availability of infrastructure, to support the numbers.
If a ‘developer-led’ approach was allowed, it would not deliver the additional housing that is needed, but ‘merely deliver a great deal of pain’, he explained.
Mr Herbert said in villages like Angmering that speculative developers were putting in planning applications which ran contrary to preferences expressed in draft neighbourhood plans.
He called on the Planning Minister Nick Boles to consider allowing more weight to be attached to emerging plans, so that an indication by local people of where they do, responsibly, want development, and also where they do not, is taken on board by the Planning Inspectorate.
Mr Boles responded that the historic failure of all governments had led to an acute housing crisis and the Government needed to ensure that sufficient houses were built to meet this increased demand. He told Mr Herbert that he believed that the new planning guidance addressed the concerns which MPs had raised and invited him to meet officials to discuss specific issues.