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Lewes District Council ''deep misgivings'' about planning reforms

Councillor O'Brien Emily

The consultation on the government's planning reforms drew stinging criticism from Cabinet councillors at Lewes District Council yesterday (November 12).

The Cabinet report outlined the authority's "deep misgivings" on government proposals that would see the housing requirement for Lewes district nearly double, from 483 to 800 properties a year and potentially lead to 37% fewer affordable homes.

If the reforms are implemented, land would be designated into one of three categories for growth, for renewal or for protection. Planning applications in the new growth areas will receive automatic permission to build and applications in the renewal category will receive a permission in principle.

Councillor Emily O'Brien, Cabinet Member for Planning, said: "Our deep misgivings about the reforms are well founded.

"If the government get their way no green space will be safe, residents will no longer have a say on planning applications where they live and much needed social housing won't get built, house builders will simply go where profits are greatest, not where housing need is greatest."

The government has set a housing target for England of 330,000 new homes to be built every year, with its new algorithm deciding how many are required in each town or city.

Councillor Emily O'Brien added: "I have seen unprecedented concern about these proposals from our local residents. I am urging the government to listen and rethink.

"With over a million households on council waiting lists and 93,000 in temporary accommodation, supporting local authorities to build genuinely affordable council housing should be everyone's priority, not the profits for UK house builders."