Battle against housing bill’s diktat to locals

REGENERATION chiefs in High Peak have criticised the government’s Growth and Infrastructure Bill as being inappropriate and unnecessary in an area where residents are keen on protecting their environment.

High Peak Borough Council executive member for regeneration, Councillor Godfrey Claff, said that the bill, currently being debated in the Commons, will take away the rights of local communities to determine the pace of development in their areas.

And he stressed that the council has no intention of implementing the policy on relaxing permitted development rights which limit the size of domestic extensions that can be built without council approval.

Cllr Claff said: “We have a good track record at High Peak of encouraging appropriate growth based on bringing heritage buildings back into productive use. We know best what is right for our area and we are shocked by the contradiction between the government’s localism policy and this apparent centrally imposed diktat.

“We already spend time negotiating with developers to deliver affordable housing and have established a fund to bring empty homes back into use.”

The borough council is to oppose key measures contained in the bill and urge the Government to focus on the real issues which are stalling development including lifting restrictions on local authority borrowing for housing.

Cllr Claff added: “The problem is lack of investment. Access to mortgage and development finance is constrained because developers can’t borrow to build and first-time buyers can’t get mortgages.”