Councillors in Oldham are warning that the Government’s proposals for a new planning system could mean that only the most profitable houses for developers get built in the future.
The plans strip out democratic control, with outline planning permission granted automatically if they meet certain criteria. This would make it very difficult for local residents or councillors to stop building they felt was inappropriate for their area. The changes would also remove the need for “S.106 contributions”, the rule that means currently developers have to contribute funds to the building of affordable homes.
Oldham’s Labour group have submitted a motion to be considered at the full council meeting in September, calling on the council’s Chief Executive to reject the proposals in the strongest form.
Councillor Hannah Roberts, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “We need more quality, affordable homes in Oldham, but these proposals do nothing to guarantee quality, and remove the best tool we have to make homes affordable.
“The proposals look like another bung to the Conservatives’ developer friends. The Royal Institute of British Architects are right to call the plans ‘shameful’.”
With democratic rights in the planning system under threat, the Labour motion seeks engagement with councillors from across the chamber, aiming for cross-party support for the council’s response.
Councillor Roberts added: “Whatever your views on the current planning system, it can’t be right to strip out any opportunity for local people to have their say. We need a strong response from the council and from residents so the Government knows we can’t be ignored.”