These latest proposed changes should not be seen as a retrograde step or a desire to weaken the Habitat Regulations, but seen as a pragmatic and ecologically sound approach to the current impasse.
It is designed to tackle a particular problem: the lack of provision for lab space in Cambridge – especially when compared to Silicon Valley – but wrapped in traditional branding.
“Housing policy – the building of new homes, the stewardship of existing properties, the planning of our towns, the fundamental landscape of our lives – requires long-term thinking. And a long-term plan.”
New rules threaten to give England a generation of houses that are uglier and less popular than those we have built historically.
It is absurd for even diehard NIMBYs to let London overspill undermine the Tory vote across the South East. There is a bargain to be struck.
I want to pay tribute to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up who, backed by the Chancellor and Prime Minister, pushed through this deal, which rewrites so many of the long-standing and outdated rules between Whitehall and the regions.
The West Midlands must compete with Barcelona, Boston, and Beijing – not with London and Manchester.
Germany has come closer to managing it – but take a look at the bill: an average of £71 billion between 1990 and 2014. That’s a little more than the £2 billion Sunak was sharing out yesterday.
We know that we can do more to ensure that when we expand our housing supply, we do so in the right places, with the right infrastructure, with the support of local people and local representatives.
Attacks on targets are criticising the problem’s symptom rather than its cause – that the English planning system is not currently designed to solve the country’s housing problems.
As long as demand remains as fierce as it is in London landlords will always have the advantage, no matter the legal rights heaped on tenants.
The ultimate political problem is that people support housing in principle but not in practice. But these ‘fast tracks for beauty’ would create more homes and better places.
The Chancellor’s announcement about investment zones shows that, far from being dead, levelling up is alive and kicking in those places with the ambition to deliver.
Successive Conservative governments have delivered more powers and funding to raise up communities across the country. So too must the next.
The Secretary of State for Levelling Up reviews the Government’s plans for improving life chances and growth across the North.