Housing and Planning — [Sir Charles Walker in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:45 pm on 3rd March 2020.

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Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 3:45 pm, 3rd March 2020

I would say that we need to build more homes in London. That is a conversation that we are having with the Mayor and with local authorities, because if we are to get those people into homes that they desire, we need to ensure that we are building them.

We have also cut the red tape—a perennial bête noire—making it quicker to plan and build homes that people want to live in. However, there is far more that we need to do to address the housing challenge. We are implementing planning reforms to ensure that our planning system creates and supports thriving communities, and to improve the quality, quantity and speed of home building. As I said, we will introduce the planning White Paper shortly, setting out our proposals to make the planning process clearer, more accessible and more certain for all users, including homeowners and small businesses, and I look forward to responses from colleagues across the House. The White Paper will also address resourcing and performance in planning departments, which various colleagues mentioned, and ensure that timely decisions are made.

The Government set national planning policy, but it is important that decisions and policies are made locally. We are clear that councils and their communities are best placed to take decisions on planning issues affecting their local area within the context of national planning policy. Local plans play an important role in outlining the homes that an area needs, and I believe that such plans can deliver local decisions that will remain at the heart of the planning system. Local plans provide clarity to communities and developers about where new homes should be built and how they should look, and such plans identify what developments are needed in an area, supported by the right infrastructure.