Opposition Day Debate on Planning Changes

An opposition day debate took place last week on 21st June focusing on proposed changes to planning legislation

Labour were 'calling on backbench rebels to support the opposition in a Commons Vote' as reported in the Guardian:

There are concerns that dividing the country into zones for Growth, Renewal and Protection will take away local democracy and also the flexibility that rural local areas need to ensure their sustainability.

2 Conservative MP's rebelled and voted with the Opposition, whilst most Conservatives abstained from voting.

This item was featured on Radio Devon on 22nd June including discussion with the Leader of South Hams Council, Councillor Judy Pearce.  Focusing on affordable homes, Cllr Pearce highlighted that we need to be building the right homes, in the right places, for the right people. She indicated that under new Government plans, 2/3 of the South Hams could be excluded from housebuilding, leaving only 1/3 as an area where houses can be built. 

When asked for a solution to the local issues in South Hams, Councillor Pearce responded that she would build the same number of homes as currently, but make them all affordable for local people across the tenures.

The item featured the Chief Executive of the Rural Services Network, Graham Biggs who, when asked about concerns in relation to the changes in planning said:

"The worry is that once an area is in a zone, the issues about whether that development should be allowed or not have already been determined, and it becomes a question of little more than design so our big concern is about the involvement of ordinary people in communities in that particular process."

When the Government published the White Paper Planning for the Future, The Rural Services Network held a dedicated event with its membership to ensure that it gathered an accurate representation from across rural local authorities in England.

We will be watching future debates with interest to see whether the Opposition will be able to influence the changes to planning being introduced.


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