Michael Gove eyes concessions to get planning reform past Tory rebels

Michael Gove is eyeing a slate of concessions to rebellious Tory MPs designed to get his proposals for planning reform through parliament.

Amendments to the government’s flagship housing bill could tighten planning rules in some situations – in a bid to bring Conservatives onside.

One amendment being considered would make it harder to convert homes into holiday lets, by requiring anyone wanting to do so to lodge a planning application for a change of use.

Other ideas include a “use it or lose it clause” designed to stop developers sitting on land with planning permission, The Times newspaper reports.

There could also be new incentives for developers to use brownfield sites and a new resident’ right of appeal against unpopular developments.

The government says its Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will make it easier to meet its target of building 300,000 homes a year.

The legislation includes reform to the local plan process by which councils set the terms of development, and includes other changes such as a new infrastructure levy for developers.

But backbench Tories in constituencies resistant to housebuilding are trying to amend the bill to make some types of development harder.

Around 50 MPs have signed an amendment proposed by former cabinet minister Theresa Villiers, which would scrap mandatory local housebuilding targets for councils.

It is backed by a number of former cabinet ministers including Iain Duncan Smith, Priti Patel, Chris Grayling and Damian Green.

The scale of the rebellion has apparently spooked ministers, with a source telling The Times that the government was clearly in “deal-making mode”.

Mr Gove’s proposals are already a retreat from further reaching planning reforms proposed under Boris Johnson – swathes of which were shelved followed a backbench outcry.

In a bid to curry favour for his proposals the communities secretary has stressed that new developments should be beautiful and be part of a neighbourhood.

Source: UK Politics -


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