The shortage of affordable homes across the country is well known. Now the Government has issued a White Paper consulting on a new planning strategy which it says will solve the problem by radically simplifying the planning system and delivering 337,000 new homes a year.

Local authorities will be required to allocate all land to one of three categories:

  • Growth, where outline planning permission will be automatic and build out will be controlled by private developers.
  • Renewal, where planning permission will be simplified by a massive expansion of Permitted Development rights and the use of standardised design codes.
  • Protected, which will be limited mainly to areas that have designations like National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

This automatically puts most of the English countryside into the Renewal category. Once a Local Plan is approved, people will no longer have the right to object in principle when individual planning applications are submitted so development can proceed much more quickly.

The White Paper carefully hides away in a secondary document the algorithm that would require Horsham District to build 1715 new dwellings every year - way in excess of the current 800 houses per year which is already amongst the highest in the country.

Ironically, some of the proposals in the White Paper actually reduce the number of affordable homes that would be delivered. The paper has been welcomed by developers and planning barristers but has drawn heavy criticism from a wide range of local government, professional and community associations, accusing the Government of attempting to destroy the planning system, concrete over our countryside and create the slums of the future.

The Government appears unmoved by this and seems determined to deliver its plan regardless of the feedback. If you want to make your views known, the deadlines are:

You can respond to either consultation online or by email.


The views expressed in this article are those of the Campaign to Protect Rural Henfield and do not necessarily represent those of Henfield Hub CIC