False accusations of nimbyism rife once again...

An article in the Times says that the Government has given the green light to local councils to refuse planning applications for housing developments, fuelling fears among builders of a nationwide slow down in the building of new homes.

The Home Builders Federation said that a letter sent by Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, to councils in effect gave them permission to turn down applications and could worsen the already acute housing shortage. Property experts said the letter would allow “nimbyism to run riot”.

In the letter to councils, Mr Pickles said: “I am writing to you today to highlight our commitment in the coalition agreements, where we very clearly set out our intention to rapidly abolish Regional Strategies and return decision-making powers on housing and planning to local councils.

“Consequently, decisions on housing supply ... will rest with Local Planning Authorities without the framework of regional numbers and plans. I will make a formal announcement on this matter soon. However, I expect Local Planning Authorities and the Planning Inspectorate to have regard to this letter as a material planning consideration in any decisions they are currently taking.”

Planning experts viewed the letter as an invitation to councils to put development on hold. Roger Hepher, head of planning at Savills, said: “Before the election, we were reassured that although regional spatial strategies were to be abolished, arrangements would be put in place to ensure that local authorities were not left drifting. Mr Pickles’ letter makes no reference to such arrangements.

“Without higher-level guidance,” he added, “nimbyism will run riot and there will be a severe reduction in the availability of land, and thus of development activity.”
Two comments at the end of this article are worth noting - the first commentator says: "False accusations of nimbyism are standard tactics when commercial developers see that local residents of rural areas could prevent green-field developments, and force them to take on less profitable brown-field or renovation projects to increase the Country's housing stock"
The second adds "A target of 1% growth a year, no more, for any given village or town, would remove the concerns. Where I live we are threatened with 2800 houses, a 50% increase. Other areas have had no new houses for 50 years."

SNUB concurs with both these statements and urges both the Government and Broadland District Council to re-think proposed development in Norfolk - in a essentially rural county the dispersal option is best for everyone. The whole population in Norfolk should condemn the proposed urban creep - we deserve better guardians of our countryside than Broadland District Council encouraged by Norwich City and South Norfolk District Councils.

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