We have had a housing crisis for at least three years and in the short term it can only get worse. This Government continues to meddle with the planning system blaming it for all its woes whilst completely ignoring the role of the bankers and its own politicians with their five year view on policy formulation constantly aware of the backlash from their nimby electorate. We have the current planning ministers running scared of the latest campaign run by the Telegraph objecting to the draft National Planning Policy Framework and the presumption in favour of sustainable development, a policy that George Osbourne sees as ‘’imperative’ for Britain’s economy.
On the one hand we have the Chancellor blaming the ‘slow and inefficient’ planning system for the lack of growth and is supporting reform whilst the Tory heartlands are in and around the South East of England are vociferously objecting to any reform that will encourage any form of development that would impact upon their communities. The National Trust, English Heritage and the CPRE are spreading scare stories about development covering the countryside and encroachment upon the Green Belt whilst this is far from the truth and they are praying on the Nimby’s greatest fears to stoke up a campaign which sees yet another U-turn by this Government.
Only time will tell if minister’s are strong enough to resist the calls of these self interested groups or whether they capitulate and dilute the NPPF to such an extent that it becomes yet another muddled and ineffectual piece of planning policy guidance adding to the litany of obfuscation and uncertainty from this Government impacting upon the already fragile recovery.
There are a number of factors that impact upon the housebuilding industry and yes planning is one of them however perhaps of greater significance is the impact of the banking industry however this Government have shown a great reluctance to instigate any banking reform whilst tinkering with the planning system was perhaps seen as the easy option but this is now no longer the case.