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Salford approved Salix Homes' plans for affordable housing in Seedley earlier this year

Councils hit out at ‘undemocratic’ planning reforms   

Dan Whelan

Salford City Council has slammed the Government’s proposed planning reforms, claiming they would “remove citizens’ rights to influence individual developments”, in a motion put forward by Mayor Paul Dennett.

The proposed shake-up, much-debated since the Government released the white paper last month, recommends speeding up the process of drawing up local plans and boosting housing numbers through a move towards a so-called zonal planning system. 

Under the new planning model, land would be classified into one of three categories, growth, renewal or protection.  

Salford argued that “the underlying assumption that the housing shortage is due to the failure of the planning system is demonstrably wrong”. 

Over the last four years Salford City Council has built 3,344 more homes than its target and contributed 17% of all affordable homes built across Greater Manchester’s 10 boroughs between 2011 and 2019, the authority said. 

The Government’s revised planning system involves scrapping section 106 payments, money paid by a developer to contribute towards education, affordable homes and infrastructure to mitigate the impact of a development, and replace them with a national infrastructure levy. 

Salford City Council said it had secured £18.6m in S106 payments since 2016 and that the change would benefit wealthier parts of the country and remove the link between a development and the necessary physical and social infrastructure that mitigates its impact”.

The local authority called on Government to address the lack of affordable housing through a “sustained programme of significant public investment in social-rented homes” and make it more difficult for developers to “negotiate away their commitments to affordable housing”.  

Earlier this week, a similar motion was put forward by Oldham councillors who said the reforms would “fundamentally undermine democratic local control”. Councillors asked Oldham Council’s chief executive to “reject the proposals in the strongest form”. 

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If people are serious about stopping the constant watering down, or removal, of protections then a different approach is needed.

Despite the bountiful evidence of all sorts of harm being caused to the urban fabric and communities, the Whitehall department declines to do anything other than persist.

Investigators need to be hired, in place of council motions being passed.

By Mike

Ha ha … people in greenhouses …. so it’s fine for a group of grey haired NIMBY’s who have never read the cmte report let alone the background material submitted to get swayed by a baying gallery of other NIMBY’s and refuse on a whim …. I’m not saying all schemes are great and should get PP but honestly get real and work with applicants and get your local plans in order … the system is presently a failed autocracy and needs to change

By let them eat cake