Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has submitted a motion to the Government urging them to reconsider the new Planning White Paper.
The motion, co-sponsored by Lib Dem Housing Spokesperson Tim Farron, pushes for the government to deal with the problem of ‘land banking’ (where developers buy land, but avoid building quickly, to try and increase their profits) head-on, by urging developers to build homes that have already been approved and are accessible to the most vulnerable in our society.
The proposed reforms threaten to undermine local plans in Moran’s constituency, including the recent plans by the Vale of White Horse District Council to act against land banking. As of the 1 April 2020 there is permission for 10,843 homes in the Vale that have not yet been built. Construction has only started on site for 40% of these.
A report from the LGA, earlier this year, estimated that more than one million homes with planning consent in the past decade are yet to be built. The White Paper pushes for a top-down approach, taking the voice away from communities whilst failing to properly address land banking, as well as failing to deliver genuinely affordable, good, quality homes.
Layla Moran said: “The Government needs to be thinking about those who need housing most – particularly when so many are facing the severe economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis. That’s why I’ve tabled this motion – to push for housing reforms that have the people, local democracy and accessibility at their core.
“I’m so happy to see the Vale District Council outlining a plan to stop ‘land banking’ and get affordable homes built – our community can show the Government what is possible.”
The text of the motion is below:
That this House condemns the deeply problematic Planning White Paper published by Her Majesty's Government; recognises that the proposed legislation will push for a top-down planning approach, leave the problem of land banking unresolved, and risk environmental standards being lowered; notes the importance of pushing for developers to build homes that have already been approved which are more accessible to the most vulnerable in our society; and therefore urges the Government to build at least 100,000 homes for social rent each year, while increasing overall house building to 300,000 a year, substantially help finance the large increase in the building of social homes, build new houses to zero-carbon standards, and devolve full control of Right to Buy to local councils.