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Letter: Central Government is Pressurising Councils to Build

Published on: 1 Dec, 2016
Updated on: 1 Dec, 2016

government pressureFrom Ben Paton

In response to: Letter – Residents of Guildford Park Avenue Are Disappointed With Planning Decision

Councillors are under the cosh of central government to build houses. They have failed to build any significant numbers of social housing for the past twenty years. So they are now desperate to catch up by encouraging almost any building.

It is plainly unsatisfactory, to say the very least, when a council sits in judgement on the question of whether and how to develop its own land. The system should oblige the council to put in place additional scrutiny to ensure that in acting as advocate and as jury it does not ride roughshod over the interests of local residents.

Councillors wish zealously to follow the government’s top down edicts. The planning system is not up to the task of coping with the massive conflicts of interest between developers and residents. It has become plainly biased in favour of developers – who make gross errors of fact (to put it politely) in their planning applications. And the council feels no obligation to check the facts.

The fact that the model underlying the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) has never been subject to public scrutiny illustrates this.

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