SHDC and WDBC Respond

South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council have very robustly rejected most of the Government’s ‘Changes to the Current Planning System‘ proposals.

The Councils’ full response is available here. This is the ‘smaller’ of the government’s two important planning consultations, and if this reply is anything to go by, then they are certainly in for a very hard ride!

We would like to thank the Local Authority Officers who helped prepare the consultation response papers for the Members of the Councils’ to consider. It is time the Government recognised that the 20% reduction in local ‘Planning resources’ over the past years has to be reversed if our towns and countryside are to be protected and enhanced. Formulas, algorithms, pattern books, by-passing local democracy and handing control of our environment to a few national house builders is just not going to work!

The Councils’ responses to the more far reaching and very controversial Planning for the Future consultation are due by the end of the month. Councillor Georgina Allen recently remarked that the Government’s proposals: “Would build a by-pass around local democracy”. It looks like the local community in the South Hams is fighting back!

Here are a few extracts from their Changes to the Current Planning System‘ consultation reply.

The algorithm

“The effect of this blunt tool is likely to result in an unplanned-led planning system of piecemeal development prioritised on green field development in inappropriate, unsustainable locations, in advance of brownfield development within main cities and towns. This does not sit well with the Government’s climate change emergency declaration / objectives and the objectives to prioritise brownfield development and protect areas of greenspace value.”


“The affordability crisis should be addressed by a planning system that requires developers to deliver substantially higher levels of affordable housing than the current levels, or to contribute substantially higher levels of money for the provision of affordable housing from registered providers and local authorities. In addition, the Government must create a system that holds to account house builders to build the consents that have been granted and the sites that have been allocated expediently.”

Housing the nation

“The responsibility to house the nation and address the affordability crisis has been handed to private sector house builders, therefore they must be incentivised to do so. House builders must also face a delivery test, and also face financial consequences for failing to deliver the sites that have been allocated and granted consent.”

“The government should consider national policy requiring and ensuring house builders deliver higher levels of affordable housing in locations with the highest affordability ratios, rather than merely inflating housing numbers in these locations with no mechanisms / incentives or penalties for developers to ensure delivery takes place.”

“The effect of over-inflated, undeliverable housing numbers as a result of this element of the algorithm has the opposite effect, i.e. to reduce affordable housing provision within schemes in decision making, due to failed housing delivery tests or lack of a 5 year land supply.”

“This has been the case since the introduction of the NPPF in 2012, and also appears to be the case elsewhere in this consultation where the government proposes an interim removal of affordable housing obligations for sites below 40 or 50 units – in response to potential viability issues associated with the effects of COVID 19 and the downturn in the economy. The affordability crisis is not best addressed by the loss and reduction of affordable housing provision. This seems to be a very counterintuitive outcome to improve affordability and access to housing.”

“Research from Lichfield’s clearly shows that greater levels of affordable housing within developments substantially increase delivery rates. The government should therefore be ensuring that the planning system secures greater levels of affordable housing within developments above current levels, not lower levels to meet the government’s aspirations for higher housing delivery figures”

More social housing

“First Homes will only meet a small proportion of identified housing requirements and not enough social rented homes are being delivered nationally. As a country, we need to build at least 90,000 new social rented homes each year. A new planning system must recognise its role in delivering the truly affordable homes people need.”

Here is the Councils’ full response to the government’s Changes to the Current Planning System consultation.

‘Planning for the Future’
If we want a better future then the Government must plan to reverse the cuts!

Here is the FOSH ‘Changes to the Existing Planning System’ consultation response

Here is the South Hams Society’s response

For more information, email:

Or write to: FOSH, Rathlyn, Grenville Rd, Salcombe, TQ8 8BJ

FOSH © 2021

This Web site is for those who love the South Hams “The jewel in the crown of Devon” and who wish to protect and enhance the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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