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The government needs to re-think its Planning Bill or it risks a backlash among voters across southern England, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has warned.
Speaking to this month’s Local Government Association (LGA) conference Sir Ed suggested the proposed reforms were creating a “strong tide of dissatisfaction” with the government in traditional “Blue Wall” Conservative seats such as Chesham and Amersham, where the Lib-Dems were recently victorious in a by-election.
He told the conference: “From planning to potholes, from businesses to the environment, there is a strong tide of dissatisfaction with this government on a whole range of issues across the Blue Wall.
“Liberal Democrats won that by-election by listening carefully to people’s concerns: about their families, their communities and our precious natural environment.”
Sir Ed added that the government should now change tack, beginning by “ditching… ill-thought-through and undemocratic planning reforms”.
While he agreed there was a pressing need to get more homes built he added that the government’s reforms would not help young families and first-time buyers while it would also fail to protect many green spaces.
“From removing the requirement on developers to include affordable homes in their plans, to taking away people’s current right to object to specific development proposals, [the government’s] planning reforms would allow developers to build big, expensive houses for the wealthy and maximise their profits, rather than build the homes people and communities actually need.”