Miliband: We'll Force Rural Councils to Let Our Towns and Cities Grow

Daily Mail (London), December 16, 2013 | Go to article overview

Miliband: We'll Force Rural Councils to Let Our Towns and Cities Grow


Byline: James Chapman Political Editor

LABOUR is to go to war with 'stick-in-the-mud' rural and suburban councils that are refusing to build new homes - giving towns and cities the right to expand into the countryside if it wins power. Ed Miliband will today condemn the Government's hugely controversial reforms of the planning system to encourage development as 'tinkering'.

Places such as Stevenage, Oxford, York and Luton would be handed a new 'right to grow', meaning the objections of surrounding authorities who block the construction of new homes would be overridden.

The Labour leader will condemn 'home-blocking councils' on the borders of towns and cities and also attack 'landhoarding developers' who sit on plots even after they are granted planning permission.

Mr Miliband's intervention into the increasingly heated debate over planning will pitch him into an angry confrontation with shire councils and countryside campaigners.

The Coalition's attempts to speed up and encourage development has been condemned by organisations such as the National Trust.

But Mr Miliband, speaking in Stevenage, where proposed development beyond its borders has been stalled for years, will insist that the shortage of new homes is a serious threat to Britain's future prosperity.

Labour is to set up an independent commission on housing, to be headed by former council chief executive and BBC chairman Sir Michael Lyons.

It will draw up detailed plans on how to increase the construction of new homes in England to more than 200,000 a year by the end of the next parliament if Labour wins power. …

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