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East Northamptonshire Council formally objects to MCHLG planning system changes

Published Wednesday, 30 September 2020

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During a recent meeting of the Planning Policy Committee, ENC councillors discussed their response to central Government’s “Changes to the current planning system” consultation paper and agreed to object to most of the suggestions made in the report.

On 6 August, the Government published an open consultation on changes to the current planning system, proposing a number of changes to planning policy and regulations.

The consultation covers four main area of the planning system:

  • A standard method for assessing housing
  • Delivering ‘First homes’
  • Proposals to temporarily raise the threshold below which developers do not need to contribute to affordable housing
  • Proposals to increase the threshold for Permission in Principle

In the meeting, councillors agreed to object to most of the 35 questions being asked by MCHLG and approved ENC’s official response to the paper.

Cllr David Brackenbury, Chairman of the Planning Policy Committee said:

“This was a difficult decision for councillors to make, but a necessary and correct one given the topics being discussed in this report. The committee had concerns about the long term impact that these changes would have on East Northamptonshire and the added pressure on the district.

“For example, if the new standard method for assessing housing was implemented as proposed, it would lead to a near doubling of ENC’s housing requirements from 420 dwellings per year to 821 dwellings per year.”

“There is a general agreement by councillors that the focus on housing delivery should be directed towards the housebuilders, rather than local authorities.”

Cllr Steven North, Leader of East Northamptonshire Council added:

“With East Northamptonshire Council ceasing to exist at the end of March 2021, it is vital that we do everything we can to protect the district for years to come.”

“As a council, we have a duty to ensure development across the district is suitable for its surroundings and this is why the Planning Policy committee has voted to formally object to most of the areas being discussed in this consultation by central government.”

Planning Policy committee members will next meet 19 October to discuss the Government’s ‘Planning for the Future White Paper’.