FOR IMMEDIATE USE 06 December 2022
Councillor David Taylor has welcomed the news that the government has agreed to give councils more power over local housing decisions.
Following a revolt of nearly 60 Conservative MPs, the government has today announced that local councils will be able to challenge housing targets, where they are deemed to change the character of the local area. The changes will be introduced as part of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, currently making its way through parliament.
Cllr Taylor welcomed the news as “What Romford needs”.
“For too long, Romford has been dictated to about the number of homes that need to be built here. Top down housing targets made it difficult for Havering Council to take control of local planning and these changes are what Romford needs”.
Local planning decisions can often be stripped from local councils if they fail to approve enough homes. Cllr Taylor believes that the new changes will empower local Councillors to make the right choices for their areas.
“We need to build the right type of homes for Romford, not just the right number. Flexibility around the housing targets will mean local decisions by local people, instead of Romford being dictated to by City Hall or Westminster”.
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will also look to penalise developers who are failing to build already approved homes and give local authorities power to promote brownfield development.
“We can’t have a situation where old homes are torn down and the new ones failing to be built. This rips the heart out of a town and only has a negative impact on the already overcrowded housing waiting list.”, Cllr Taylor said.
“I’m also pleased to see a focus on brownfield development. We’ve seen Havering’s Leader tell the public that he isn’t ‘wedded to the idea of the greenbelt’ and this is concerning. A focus on brownfield development is what we need”.
“I look forward to seeing more details on the bill, which is set to increase the focus on improving local infrastructure. We shouldn’t be building homes until our sewage, roads, schools and hospitals are equipped to handle them”.
“I’m encouraged to see the Conservatives have a healthy number of rebels, willing to stand up for what’s right in their communities. This government is getting a grip on local planning and Romford should see the benefits of it.
It’s now over to Havering Council to use the powers wisely.”
The Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill is a far-reaching bill that also covers local infrastructure and protections for environment and heritage. It is currently in the report stage in Parliament and will shortly go to the House of Commons for its 3rd reading and vote.
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