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City MP blasts government planning reforms and “unsustainable” housing targets

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has criticised the government’s proposed planning reforms, which he says will force ‘unsustainable’ house-building targets on the City.

The government’s hated “Developers’ Charter” is set to hand control of planning decisions over to housebuilders and gag communities from speaking out against inappropriate developments in their area.

Mr Morgan has written to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick to raise concerns around the government’s inflated housing targets, which would see Portsmouth build 17,357 dwellings by 2038.

The City MP wrote: “Our city recognises the need to build more homes, but any delivery must be sustainable, integrated with the right infrastructure, and acknowledge the unique circumstances Portsmouth faces.”

In response, the Housing Minister committed to meet the Portsmouth South representative and local planners to discuss their concerns and deliver a more sustainable housing plan, but is yet to set a date for the meeting.

In June, Mr Morgan supported Labour’s proposals to protect local people’s right to object to individual planning applications in the House of Commons, after the Government announced plans to rip up the planning system in the Queen’s Speech.

The Government’s proposed reforms of the planning system will remove powers from elected local representatives and hand them to Whitehall-appointed boards of developers while doing nothing to solve the growing affordable housing crisis.

Boards will oversee a new zonal system that allows developers to build at will in areas designated for growth. Communities will be consulted only in the development of five-yearly local plans and will be gagged from intervening in individual planning applications.

Conservative Ministers have claimed that the reforms are needed to speed up housebuilding, even though over one million planning permissions have not been built out in the last decade.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:

“The government’s inflated housing targets are totally unsustainable for our densely populated City. They risk overwhelming local infrastructure and endangering our treasured natural environments. 

“The Minister’s empty promises of a meeting speak volumes, but I’ll fight to make sure local voices are heard.

“I want to see a flexible planning system that delivers the homes we need while placing local people at the centre of decisions that affect our City.

“Algorithms and formulas can never be a substitute for local knowledge and decision-making by councils and communities who know their area best.”