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The Political Parties and Planning in the Run-Up to the General Election

Date: 9/2/2015

Here we provide a summary of the main political parties approach to environmental and planning matters, courtesy of Local DialogueAny commentary is theirs not POS.

  • Conservatives >> read more
    • High on the list of Conservative priorities is promoting regeneration of derelict brownfield sites. This regeneration would be driven by new housing starts, and supported through state action on areas like mortgage deposits and Stamp Duty holidays.
    • Support for social housing providers. This policy is indicative of the 'enabling state' approach we expect the Conservatives to continue to embrace: the state supporting the construction of social housing, which could move into the private sector at a later date.
    • Support  to renewable projects - refocus subsidies towards more traditional energy sources along with hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
  • Labour >> read more
    • Housebuilding on approved sites will have "use it or lose it" permissions. Labour is promising local authorities new powers to charge fees or compulsory purchase sites that have already been granted planning permission.
    • Empty homes would be advertised in the UK before being advertised overseas, and homeowners will be charged for leaving homes empty.
    • As well as new towns and garden cities, Labour would like to give the "right to grow" (not build) to towns and villages that would like to expand but are struggling to work in harmony with neighbouring authorities.
  • Liberal Democrats >> read more
    • New affordable homes - is the highest target of the 'main 3' parties. Mechanisms for reaching this inlude an 'affordable housing bank', offering low cost loans to developers. 
    • Allow councils to borrow against their assets - a long standing Lib Dem policy of allowing boroughs more financial leeway didn't find it into the 2010 Coalition agreement but is something they'd like to see in a new coalition.
  • Greens >> read more
    • They seek to protect the British countryside by promoting brownfield development. 
    • They would make it difficult to demolish existing buildings in urban areas by requiring planning permission to be obtained for all demolition. 
    • They want local areas to have control over planning decisions.
  • UKIP >> read more
    • Protecting the countryside - UKIP sees the country's greenbelt as sacrosanct, and would change the National Planning Policy Framework to make it almost impossible to develop it.
    • Promoting brownfield - UKIP would introduce a raft of measures to encourage new development at brownfield sites, including an exemption from stamp duty.
    • Ending renewable subsidies - UKIP has made clear that it will not tolerate wind and solar farms in the countryside, pledging to end subsidies the renewables industry is seen to rely upon.
    • Power to the peopleUKIP will enable communities to hold referendums on large, controversial developments if they are approved. This new type of local referendum would take place within 3 months of the consent - a sort of planning appeal without the lawyers.
  • SNP >> read more
    • Planning policy is devolved to Scotland - voters are not going to the ballot box to vote about development, planning.
    • The bloc of Scottish MPs, formerly controlled by the Labour Party, would cease to function as a political force when it came to votes on England-only issues like planning and development.
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