MP Calls for Evidence on Proposed Planning Reforms

Steve McCabe MP for Birmingham Selly Oak is calling for local views on the government’s proposals to overhaul the planning system.  

In August, the Government published their White Paper on reforming the planning system ‘Planning for the Future’. This White Paper will introduce a number of measures including a zonal planning system, Local Authority house building targets and abolishing the Community Infrastructure Levy and Section 106 agreements. In addition, the planning consultation period will be cut in half and some changes will be exempt from any consultation. The White Paper is currently in its consultative phase which runs from 6 August 2020 to 29 October 2020.

The Government is also extending Permitted Development rights to allow some blocks of flats and qualifying houses to extend their property by 2 storey’s and allow for empty residential and/or commercial buildings to be rebuilt as housing without a formal consultation period. Charities have warned that without proper scrutiny, a new wave of unsafe and low quality properties could be built.

In his Selly Oak constituency, Steve McCabe MP has raised concerns about a rise in cowboy builders and developers seeking to add as many rooms as possible onto properties in hopes of making more profit. Local residents are also concerned that they have no right to appeal which has led to a number of HMOs and several student blocks in residential areas of Selly Oak.

Steve McCabe is concerned that the new proposals will further disadvantage local residents and lead to an increasing number of properties that are unfit for purpose with local communities being sidelined in the planning process. He has launched his own survey and is now calling on his constituents to give their views and experiences of the local planning system.  

In 2015, Steve McCabe introduced a 10-minute rule bill (The Protection of Family Homes Bill) which would have allowed for fresh rights for local residents, greater safety checks on extensions built under permitted development and new penalties for developers who breach planning regulations.

Steve McCabe MP said:

“Any changes to the planning system need to reflect local concerns and address local problems, the Government can’t ignore this. Local residents frequently tell me they feel voiceless and powerless against large developers. Instead of trying to increase local accountability, these proposals will make it harder for communities to have their say in the planning process. We need more quality, affordable housing in this area and we can’t afford to gamble away our communities’ voices at this time.

“I am calling on my constituents to share their views on the new proposals so that I can best represent their voices in Parliament”

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