Conservatives ‘right to regenerate’ is another attempt to put developers first

The Conservative Government has continued its attack on public green spaces with a new consultation on ‘right to regenerate’, which proposes that “inefficient use of public sector land” should be challenged, and used to build developments. 

The Government is suggesting that the current right to contest – which gives local authorities the right to refuse if the cost of selling would not be good value for the taxpayer – should be replaced, so that more sites would be made available for development. 

Recent proposals from the Government on planning law show that the Conservatives are already trying to ensure that more developers get automatic approval for sites, rather than targeting environmentally friendly development that on sites actually in need of regeneration, with proper infrastructure support.

Local Liberal Democrat campaigner Mark Kenyon said: “Developers will always choose to target easier sites for housing; which we’ve seen locally with proposed developments such as that on Knowls Lane. 

Local campaigner Mark Kenyon at Stonebreaks

“If the Conservative Government were really interested in addressing blight, this would give communities the option to bring ‘inefficient’ public spaces into community control, so that they can give villages and towns more of what they need – which might be development, but could just as well be allotments, village greens or parks.”

The succession of consultations from the Government has included “Planning for the Future”, which was widely attacked, including by Conservative councillors, as well as plans to change the rules on supported housing, and to increase the numbers of houses which should be built across the country.

Oldham’s Liberal Democrat shadow cabinet member for housing and homelessness, Sam Al-Hamdani, said: “This is the latest in a sequence of consultations which, taken together, look like a deliberate, concerted attack on communities’ ability to determine what developments will benefit them.

Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani overlooking Dovestones and one of the proposed GMSF development sites

“New housing is needed – we need more ways to ensure that developers, councils and communities are on the same page. Instead, this is another attempt from the Conservatives to put communities last, and dump the blame on local authorities.”

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