Labour hits back after Conservatives criticise housing blueprint

Posted On 10 Apr 2020 at 11:27 am

Labour has responded to Conservative criticism of the council’s planning blueprint which will decide where housing can be built in Brighton and Hove over the coming decade.

Councillor Nick Childs

The Tories say that more should be done to protect family homes and greenfield land, particularly around the “urban fringe”.

But Labour said that the vast majority of new housing is likely to be built on brownfield sites such as the Sackville Trading Estate and Coal Yard in Hove.

Councillor Nick Childs, Labour’s lead member for planning policy on Brighton and Hove City Council, said that the new blueprint, known as City Plan Part Two, is based on policies that all parties voted for, including the Conservatives. Click here to see it.

He said: “We can all agree on the importance of our open spaces, which is why City Plan Part Two builds on Part One that all parties including the Tories voted for, with 90 per cent of land allocated for development on brownfield sites, and stringent policies in place to protect biodiversity and public access.

“Indeed, Labour has identified 180 brownfield sites which could provide 8,000 homes.

“Major brownfield sites earmarked for development include the old gas works in East Brighton as well as the former coal yard in Hove.

“City Plan Part Two agrees some of the details already enacted in Part One.

“These include supporting and encouraging the building of many more good family homes with an emphasis on genuine affordability, removal of the vast majority of greenfield sites previously identified by the central government planning inspector, strong ecological building requirements and some of the toughest restrictions on protecting family homes from being turned into houses of multiple occupancy in the UK.

“Despite years of national government ineptitude with regards housing and planning by Tory governments fixated with failed free market solutions to protecting the environment and addressing the housing crisis, this administration has launched a bold initiative to build 800 new council homes as well as hundreds of housing association homes and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

“We share the Conservatives’ frustrations at stalled privately owned brownfield sites and Tory restrictions on councils demanding higher numbers of family homes in new developments.

“These issues could be addressed at government level through reforms to prevent land-banking and empower local authorities to make their own decisions on planning need.”

The full council is due to vote on the latest version of City Plan Part Two at a “virtual” meeting on Thursday 23 April.

The strategic blueprint still has to be assessed by a planning inspector on behalf of the government before the council can formally “adopt” the plan.

It will then become a point of reference when councillors decide new planning applications.

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