LETTER: Housing solution is staring them in the face

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It seems to me that the change in emphasis on planning law which is implied (and may well be activated) following South Holland District Council leader Gary Porter’s cosy session with three others to produce new planning rules, will not work well for small communities.

The closeness of the relationship between the present Cabinet in London and major developers, and the District Cabinet locally and major local developers, is becoming a cause of discussion and some disquiet.

I acknowledge that all Town and Country Planning legislation, since 1947, has had a presumption in favour, but that presumption is being moved further towards ‘in favour at any price’, and away from appropriate development.

None of us liked the ‘tight’, closely built, inappropriate estates of the 1990s and 2000s, and many may become the slums of the 2030s. They were totally unsuitable for rural areas like South Lincolnshire.

Look at Crowland and see how much damage has been done to its central character over the past few decades.

Unfortunately planning authorities have always had to give thought to ‘what an inspector might say’ at an appeal hearing. The Inspectorate are stuck in a time warp several decades behind current thinking, and are only too ready to award costs against a council which tries to be innovative or original. Those costs only come from one place, the pockets of the hard working local council tax payers.

I, for one, have very little confidence that the ‘present lot’ at Westminster have any more interest and belief in communities than the ‘previous lot’.

With planning, their haste is going to be regretted later – act in haste, repent at leisure.

After the Second World War, the economy was stimulated by a major programme of housing.

I was at a seminar in the north of England a few weeks ago, and expected to be shot down by those present from Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour, when I suggested we needed to do it again – build a million council houses for rent, built to a high standard, for families, with small gardens to run around in! I was amazed! Everyone agreed with me.

When will the message reach the wealthy MPs that the solution is staring them in the face?

Perhaps if their pension entitlements and their mileage allowance were nearer those of the people they represent, they might earn slightly more respect, and belief that we are really ‘all in this together’.

CHRIS BREWIS

Bridge Road

Sutton Bridge