Good news for Horsham - Robert Jenrick’s massively unpopular planning reforms are in meltdown before ever reaching Parliament. The threat was a huge increase in our housebuilding target, from 800 today to 1,715 every year. Now the promise is a lower figure, although it remains to be seen how much lower.
Attention has focused on the new method for calculating targets, which threatens a repeat of the government’s GCSE/A level fiasco. Once again, a crazed ‘algorithm’ is throwing out all kinds of obviously ludicrous results.
In London and the South East it produced impossibly high targets. Meanwhile in parts of the North, which actually want and need more housing to generate growth, some authorities were set to receive a minus figure! What do they want them to do – demolish?
Jenrick can’t even claim the excuse of not knowing the area. One of the daftest targets of all was right at home in Westminster – a huge jump from 1,068 to 5750 homes a year! Presumably, Jenrick aimed to turn the Houses of Parliament into flats under Permitted Development rights.
However, it’s not all good news. We remain in the middle of approving a new Local Plan under the old system. This will still result in a big jump from 800 to somewhere between 1,100 and 1,400 houses a year. So the threat remains of giant housing estates such as West of Ifield, and most controversially of all, Rookwood.