• Nick Boles told to apologise for ‘costing Tories seats’

    6th May 2014 | News | Claire
  • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenpolitics/planning/10809862/Nick-Boles-told-to-apologise-for-costing-Tories-seats.html

    Planning minister urged to apologise to Gloucestershire MP who will ‘lose his seat’ in planning revolt.

    The planning minister has been urged to apologise to a Conservative member of parliament for “costing him his seat” at the next general election.

    Nick Boles was told by a life-long Conservative voter that Neil Carmichael, MP for Stroud in Gloucestershire, would lose his seat in a backlash against the Government planning reforms.

    Many Conservative MPs in rural marginal seats fear they could be punished by voters angered by the loosening of planning restrictions.

    Mr Boles was addressing a public meeting at Leonard Stanley Village Hall when he was confronted by Jolyon Neely, a resident, who said Mr Boles had cost the Tories the chance of re-election.

    He said: “Are you going to apologise to Mr Carmicahel and other Conservative MPs across the country that hold marginal seats? I have voted Conservative my whole life but I will not be doing so next year.”

    Mr Boles said planning reforms had caused a “huge amount of upset” across the country but would “ultimately lead to good things” with increased housing supply.

    Residents in the area recently successfully fought off an application for 150 homes on a green field between two villages. The developer has appealed.

    Because the area has not adopted a local plan for housing development as required by the new planning rules, there are fears the Planning Inspectorate will rule in favour of the developers.

    Mr Boles said: “The whole point of the Government’s planning policy is for every area to draw up a local plan to ensure that the needs of the local area are met.”

    “When communities are left without a local plan that is when the problems arise as there is nothing in place to protect them from unwanted developments.”

    He rules out allowing local areas to “pause” housing developments until local plans are put in place, saying it will result in little house building.

    New figures show a steep increase in house building in the two years since planning rules were relaxed.

    Some 194,700 planning applications were approved last year by local authorities, up 9 per cent from two years ago.

    The number of large scale developments of ten or more properties has increased from 3,956 in 2010-11 to 4,931 in 2013-14, according to the first study of the impact of the National Planning Policy Framework by Glenigan.

    Some 10,474 smaller developments were approved, an increase of 29 per cent on two years previously. The consultants attributed the rise to the new planning regime but said housing supply is still falling short of population growth.