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Housing and Planning Bill - Report (5th Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:45 pm on 25th April 2016.

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Photo of Lord Adonis Lord Adonis Labour 9:45 pm, 25th April 2016

My Lords, I rise briefly to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, on what may turn out to be quite a significant reform of the planning system. The concept of new garden villages is thoroughly welcome. In the past we have thought of new settlements as being top-down and very large-scale, as the noble Lord, Lord Best, has just said. The principle being introduced by the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, is that is they should be much smaller in scale and locally led. The breakthrough in his thinking is that, by definition, you will reduce the number of nimbys if you are not building directly on existing settlements. It will make it possible, if this power is taken up by local authorities, to capture the increase in land values in a way that is not possible with developments on the edge of existing settlements. So the noble Lord’s thinking is hugely significant.

I live in hope that a purely bottom-up process will be sufficient, as the noble Lord, Lord Best, said, to produce the necessary proposals. I suspect—how can I put this diplomatically?—that we will need a certain amount of encouragement from the Government for local authorities as to the value of such new settlements and on how they can help them meet their own requirements of delivering new housing. That would be no bad thing. As ever, once there is a little leadership, and those who are rather nervous about taking this step see how it has been done successfully, more may be likely to follow.

Amendment 127 agreed.

Clause 150: Establishment of urban development corporations: procedure