Liberal Democrats: Government’s planning changes show they are not serious about tackling housing crisis


A large number of poor quality homes could be a reality as recent planning reforms announced by the Housing Minister, as new homes in England will be granted “automatic” permission to be built.

Pat Marsh, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Harrogate Borough Council, said:

Across Harrogate district, 1,719 families are stuck on the housing waiting list. This is unacceptable.

Yet again, we are witnessing a Conservative-run Government who are completely unwilling to understand what people need. Reforming planning laws will not aid those who are either stuck on waiting lists or struggling to get the funds together to buy their own home.

This is evidence of the Conservatives continuing not to listen, but rather to act on their own accord.

Liberal Democrats want to see the completion of 100,000 new social homes every year across the UK, in addition to providing local councils with the ability to suspend the ‘right to buy’ scheme in their own areas.

This is the only way we are going to even begin to tackle the country’s housing crisis.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Housing, Communities and Local Government Tim Farron added:

Robert Jenrick’s comments have done nothing to persuade anyone that these planning reforms will alleviate the problems behind the UK’s housing crisis. It’s not the lack of planning permission that stops houses being built, but Conservative Ministers’ refusal to invest in social housing.

Rather than tinkering with planning laws, what Robert Jenrick should be doing is unveiling a huge house-building programme of environmentally-friendly social homes for rent.

  • Analysis from the Local Government Association(March 2020) shows over a million homes were granted planning permission but never built over the past decade.
  • Full details of the Government’s planning proposals can be found here.
  • Data on the numbers of households on local authority waiting lists is available here.


  1. Harrogate claim 6.6 years land supply. But it is a false claim. For instance 14/02239/PNH The Croft, Kirk Deighton B1(a) to C3 8houses.
    This has not been built and will not be.
    2 have been built under a different application and an application for 1 was refused and a request for a suggestion of how many they would accept was met with an adamant dismissal of ‘Any’ development was always going to be rebuffed.
    So much for the NPPF requiring an assumption of ‘Yes’.

  2. Harrogate planners know that they can’t achieve the number of completions they claim in their land supply. Big builders are delayed by conditions attached to permissions.
    The 3000 houses at Cattle are claimed in their supply to 2035, but the builders say it is 3000 over 21 years. So that is 2041. Have they started yet?

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