Editor: The planning acts do not need reform – they need to be abolished.
Prior to the first National Planning Act, enacted in 1947, the country had functioned well enough for centuries without a law requiring planning permission to develop. Of course, there were many eyesores as a consequence, but also many treasures.
Almost all of today’s revered buildings most likely replaced ones that would have been protected under our present system.
Permission should still be required on listed buildings, in conservation areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty. The green belt is now an anachronism and should be abolished, although strict controls should be maintained nationally on use, height and volume, with agreed ratios of built to site area, variable as to rural, suburban, town or city location.
What style a window or a door should be or the design and materials choice for a building and its roof should be no business of the planning department.
If an Englishman’s home is truly his castle, he should be free to crenellate it if he so wishes.
Legislation to protect the newts, bats, toads, dormice, badgers and so on would be retained, but with appropriate allowances for relocation.
Social housing should be entirely the responsibility of local authorities, supported by central government funding, and with the freedom to partner with private-sector developers.
All that should resolve the housing crisis and stimulate the economy, given a 10-year moratorium on political and ideological interference.
Anthony H Ratcliffe, partner, Ratcliffes