Concern about new homes 'free for all' after Derbyshire council chosen to pilot new housing scheme

Environmental campaigners fear a new homes ‘free for all’ after a Derbyshire council was chosen to pilot part of a new Government scheme.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 7:38 am

Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced new planning legislation in the Queen’s Speech, which protesters fear will relax rules in favour of development.

Although the government insists the changes will simplify the planning process and provide faster ways of assessing the environmental impact of developments, critics say it will give property developers a freer hand to build over green fields.

Land will be placed in zones either for growth, where developers will be allowed to build homes, schools and hospitals without individual planning consents, or protection, where development will be restricted.

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Campaigners in Glapwell are concerned Bolsover has been chosen to pilot the scheme.

It has emerged that part of the scheme, allowing first-time buyers to get a home for up to half price, will be piloted in Bolsover – and green spaces campaigners there are concerned.

Sarah Bister, a spokesperson for the Park Avenue Avengers, who are battling to save trees in Glapwell from a housing development, said she was ‘intensely worried’ by the proposal.

“This could make Bolsover district a free for all regarding approval of new planning applications for developers.

"I can’t see that brownfield sites will be first choice either? Are there many in the district? So more greenfield applications will be going in along with a knock on effect on the wildlife, environment, trees and hedges.

"This includes applications on agricultural land. The quality of which is very good throughout the district. We need this land for production of more of own food post-Brexit.”

We approached Bolxover District Council for comment and they referred us to the Government’s Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.

A spokesman for the ministry said further details of the scheme would be revealed in due course.

The Government says the new egislation will provide ‘simpler, faster procedures for producing local development plans, approving major schemes, assessing environmental impacts and negotiating affordable housing and infrastructure contributions’.

But Fiona Howie, chief executive of the Town and Country Planning Association, said: “It is disappointing that the Government’s narrative has focused, once again, solely on housing numbers. If we are truly committed to building back better, we need the built environment to support communities to thrive.”

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