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Council urges government to support climate and biodiversity action with planning reform

Lewes District Council today (July 15) passed a motion calling on the government to put "climate and biodiversity emergencies at the heart" of planning reform and ensure local control is retained on planning applications.

It is also urging the government to remove the current system of "unrealistic" housing targets and abolish the housing delivery test.

On behalf of the council, Councillor Emily O'Brien,. Cabinet Member for Planning and Infrastructure, will write to Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government; Maria Caulfield, MP for Lewes; and Lloyd Russell-Moyle, MP for Brighton Kemptown, asking them to support these requests and champion them in Parliament.

The motion at Full Council was proposed by Councillor Zoe Nicholson, Leader of the Council, and seconded by Councillor Robert Banks.

Councillor Nicholson said: "The government's planning reform white paper, Planning for the Future, published last summer, fails to set out a vision of a zero carbon future, and instead proposes to force a substantial increase in housing in our district by deregulating the planning system, and limiting local control on planning applications, for example introducing zoning and downgrading the role of planning committees.

"To make matters worse, the existing system means areas like Lewes district are hit by unrealistic housing targets that take no account of need or our capacity to deliver them. We need this system scrapped and replaced with more local control, not less."

An amendment by Councillor Sharon Davy was accepted to also ask the government to retain and strengthen the district's town and parish adopted neighbourhood plans.

A separate motion was also passed at Full Council to incorporate healthy homes principles into all new developments and council policy-making on housing, and include them in the next Corporate Plan as a priority.