Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, pledged today that Conservatives
would resist Government plans to centralise the planning system and Liberal
Democrat proposals to take many planning decisions at a distant regional
level. While a cross-party House of Commons Committee last week condemned
Labour?s plans as “unworkable”, Gordon Brown and John Prescott are expected
to announce soon further proposals to weaken planning protection against
housebuilding on greenfield sites.
Peter Lilley said:
“There is overwhelming opposition to Labour?s ill thought-out planning
proposals. Their changes will be bad for business, bad for democracy and bad
for the environment. The proposals could allow the Government to re-impose
plans to build 10,000 houses on Green Belt land west of Stevenage even
though the elected County Council has been developing alternative solutions
which will provide the extra housing in more suitable locations.
“By contrast, Conservatives pledge to protect local communities? say on
planning decisions and safeguard the role of district and county councils.
We want to strengthen the role of local councils. Rather than building more
executive homes on the Green Belt, we need to focus on regenerating our
existing towns and cities, and ensure there is more affordable housing to
buy and rent in urban areas.
“Yet Liberal Democrats offer nothing better. Despite what they may say
locally, their national party wants housebuilding and spatial planning
decisions to be taken at a regional, not a local level. This would mean that
politicians and bureaucrats in Cambridge or Norwich could impose sprawling
housing estates between Hitchin and Stevenage and between Harpenden and
Luton irrespective of local wishes.”