The FMB was responding to the House of Commons Communities & Local Government Committee inquiry into the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
FMB director of external affairs Brian Berry said: “The planning system is in need of urgent reform if it is to deliver the homes and infrastructure that this country needs to support economic growth. The government’s proposal to introduce a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ is not, as many are suggesting, a green light for simple development resulting in the concreting over of the countryside. The NPPF is explicit in protecting green spaces and the importance of green belt land.”
Berry continued: “The key issue that needs to be addressed is not the NPPF but the need for local authorities to ensure they have their local plans in place because without them the default position is to allow sustainable development without the input of community views. These plans will take time if they are to be representative of local concerns which is why the local authorities must be given that time.”
He concluded: “With more than 80% of people, particularly for first time buyers, in Britain believing that Britain needs more homes particularly for first time buyers the simple fact is that we need a planning system that is more responsive to the needs of people. Last year saw just 103,000 homes built in England, the fewest since 1923. Without a reformed planning system the opportunities to own a home will be further diminished which is not in anyone’s interest least of those seeking their basic right to have a home of their own.”