The residents of the Witham constituency are concerned about a wide range of housing matters. Ministers might be familiar with some of them, but I want to pick on three examples.
First, the issue of how the five-year land supply is calculated affects communities across the country. In planning applications and appeals, we see developers trying to pick apart the declared pipelines in councils’ local plans. To be frank, highly paid consultants and advisers are producing lengthy reports for applications and appeals, and the public struggle to contest them because they do not have the resources. I have seen many cases in my constituency of developers trying to pick apart the council’s supply pipeline and go against local community planning and the council’s planning objectives. That is not good enough.
We all recognise that the delivery of land and housing can sometimes be beyond councils’ framework and mandate. I urge the Government to look again at how much weight is applied to the five-year supply. We must ensure that councils and communities have more protection. Developers think that by ripping apart five-year supply calculations, they can develop almost anywhere. That is a major issue across the board.