Plan to build thousands of homes in Coventry criticised by councillor

A proposal that seeks radically reform England’s “outdated and ineffective planning system” has been criticised by a Coventry councillor.

A government proposal that seeks to reform the planning system in England, and would double the number of homes built in Coventry every year, has been criticised by a Labour councillor.

Cllr David Welsh, the Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, has spoken out against plans that he claims would reduce the availability of affordable housing and make it more difficult for residents to influence developments in the city.

The proposal seeks radically reform England’s outdated and ineffective planning system, as a White Paper on the proposals puts it, delivering results in weeks and months rather than years and decades.

Major reforms set out in the proposal include replacing existing developer contributions to affordable housing with a new levy on housing development.

New zoning classifications would be introduced, where land could be zoned with growth areas, renewal areas and protected areas being identified in local plans.

As part of the proposal, the number of houses built in Coventry every year would increase by 117 per cent – from 1,230 to 2,676.

Cllr Welsh claims that a shortage of brownfield sites would put extra pressure on open spaces and greenbelts in order to meet such a large increase, but the Government insist that the existing policy for protecting the Green Belt would remain.

“On top of this, the White paper affects our planning controls, giving more power to developers”, explained Cllr Welsh.

But the Government champions this approach, saying the proposals would reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and open up housebuilding to more than just a handful of massive corporations.

The overall reforms were labelled “unwanted and unnecessary” by Cllr Welsh, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists the current “make-do-and-mend” planning system is “no longer fit for human habitation.”

The Prime Minister said: “Thanks to our planning system, we have nowhere near enough homes in the right places.

“The whole thing is beginning to crumble and the time has come to do what too many have for too long lacked the courage to do – tear it down and start again.”