Hasty planning reform

SIR – As a broad coalition of planning, heritage and environmental organisations, we are united in our vision for what is needed to deliver affordable, good-quality homes, while protecting our precious green spaces, and putting local people at the heart of decision-making.

The planning system needs careful, sensible reform rather than the major, hurried and untested changes set out in the Government’s planning White Paper, which is akin to demolishing the whole house just to mend the roof.

The planning system may not be perfect, but we urge the Government to rethink its White Paper, as it is not the answer to boosting economic growth post-coronavirus. Nine in 10 applications are already approved by councils, and the 10 biggest developers have more than 400,000 plots in their land banks. Hundreds of thousands of homes that could be built are not.

Ministers should invest in an evidence-led planning system that is empowered to meet the Government’s environmental, social and economic objectives.

Clare Blencowe
Chairman, Association of Local Environmental Records Centres

Dominic Dyer
Chief Executive, Badger Trust

Craig Macadam
Conservation Director, Buglife

Anita Konrad
Chief Executive, Campaign for National Parks

Neil Redfern
Executive Director, Council for British Archaeology

Dr James Robinson
Director of Conservation, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

Crispin Truman
Chief Executive, Campaign to Protect Rural England

Kate Gordon
Senior Planner, Friends of the Earth

Doug Parr
Policy Director, Greenpeace UK

Lizzie Glithero-West
Chief Executive, Heritage alliance

Kate Ashbrook
General Secretary, Open Space Society

Tanya Curry
Interim CEO, Ramblers

Vicky Wyatt
Director of Campaigns, SumOfUs

Hugh Ellis
Policy Director, Town and Country Planning Association

Kit Stoner
Chief Executive, the Bat Conservation Trust

Tony Gent
Chief Executive Officer, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation

Ian Harvey
Executive Director, Civic Voice

Mark Lloyd
Chief Executive, The Rivers Trust