Planning magazine reports that Gavin Barwell, the Croydon Central MP who replaces Brandon Lewis as housing and planning minister, has opposed green belt development in his constituency and said that the previous Tory government 'made a mistake on out-of-town planning policy' in the 1980s.
Chair of the Planning Officers Society's Board and former London Borough of Croydon planning director Mike Kiely, told a Planning reporter that Barwell had been a local MP for almost the entire time he had worked at the council. Kiely described Barwell as "very sharp". He added: "He is practical, pragmatic and open to a sensible argument. I think he gets planning."
According to Kiely, Barwell would have seen in Croydon the importance of getting buy-in from all political parties for long-term development proposals. Politically, Kiely said, Croydon is a finely balanced council, and the regeneration of the town centre was going to traverse two or three administrations. "What I'm hoping he's witnessed is a planning authority working well and what that means in terms of delivery," he said. He added that Barwell would be aware of the impact of office-to-residential permitted development rights on Croydon - identified by Planning research as an office-to-resi hotspot - and may take a different view to his predecessor on that point.