Richard spoke in a backbench business debate in the House of Commons today on planning reforms and house building targets.
The government is currently consulting on changes to the system which indicates how many homes should be built in local authority areas.
During the debate, Richard raised some key concerns:
- Targets should be manageable at a local level;
- The burden should be shared across all areas;
- We must have infrastructure first, as per our manifesto commitment;
- Developers must fulfil their commitments, and if they don't there should be penalties;
- We need to end 'creepy' developers exploiting loopholes in the system;
- Neighbourhood Plans should stay but must be taken notice of and matter locally;
- The planning system does need reform, but we must work together to get it right
Speaking after the debate, Richard said: "Today I asked the Minister to ensure that house building targets are on a manageable scale and shared across all areas. For Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire, current targets would mean 60,000 new homes over 15 years, which would be the equivalent of building seven towns the size of Biggleswade, the largest town in my constituency. That does not seem a reasonable burden. We have the same housing target as Cambridgeshire, which is three times the size and it would be better to share the burden across the two counties.
"I also pressed the Minister to deliver on our manifesto commitment to deliver infrastructure such as GP surgeries, schools and roads ahead of new housing developments; to put an end to developers exploiting loopholes in the planning system and to include penalties for developers who do not fulfil their part of the contract. I do recognise the need for reforms to the planning system and I urged the Minister to work with his colleagues across the House to get these reforms right."