The Construction Industry must have been doing ‘high fives’ after hearing this week’s Queen’s Speech. The statement written for the Queen by the Conservative government included their proposed Planning Bill, which has been described as a ‘Developers Charter’.
The controversial plans include proposals to scrap Section 106 agreements which give local communities some benefit from extra housing – things such a road works or improvements to drainage.
The government’s new plans would also force councils to zone swathes of land for “growth”, “protection” or “renewal”. Land zoned for growth will receive automatic outline planning permission, with councils unable to turn down applications that accord with local rules.
Lib Dem group leader James Newport said “the government’s new Bill is expected to be brought forward in the autumn. The Conservatives are very chummy with developers so we can expect this will get through, even though some of their own MPs will oppose it. Locally we need to make sure the next Local Plan, now being prepared, does not designate great tracts of land in Rayleigh for future development. This has happened with our Conservative-run Council many times before and must not be allowed to happen again. Future development areas will become ‘growth’ areas when the Bill passes through parliament and the developers will be given automatic outline planning permission. The Lib Dems are calling for Rayleigh and Rawreth to be given a break from the constant development of recent years which has led to the traffic chaos we see on a daily basis”.