Boles dubs Tory self-build plans 'son of Right to Buy'

Reports that the Conservative Party has high hopes for the electoral potential of its 'Right to Build' proposals feature in today's news round-up from the Bank Holiday Weekend.

The Sunday Times (subscription only) reports that planning minister Nick Boles believes his government’s self-build promoting Right to Build policy is the "son of Right to Buy", the Thatcher-era policy that saw council homes sold off to tenants. Boles told the newspaper that he hoped 50,000 people a year would exercise a new right to demand that their local council provide them with a plot upon which to build their own home. He said the policy "could be one of the bigger things we do".

While Boles can expect support for the vision at a question and answer session at Grand Designs Live exhibition in London today, The Telegraph carries news that he has been asked to apologise to Stroud MP Neil Carmichael. A "lifelong Tory voter" in the constituency told the planning minister that the government’s reforms would cost Carmichael and other MPs in marginal areas their seats.

The Times (subscription only) today reports a call from Conservative peer Lord Wolfson for large tracts of countryside to be allocated for development. Wolfson called for an urgent review of green belt rules in favour of building on big, open flat fields of "no agricultural merit."

Philip Johnston, writing in The Telegraph, has a slightly different view. He argues that derelict industrial land in Britain could provide space to build "around 1.5 million homes". But he asks why there is not more building on brownfield sites in the nation’s towns and cities.

The Financial Times (subscription only) reports that 74 per cent of respondents to a YouGov poll oppose plans to allow fracking companies to deep-drill under people’s homes without their permission. Just 13 per cent were in favour of the move, which the newspaper said was expected to be outlined in next month’s Queen’s Speech.

Saturday’s edition of The Times (subscription only) carried news that Dorset’s Jurassic Coast is "under threat" from an offshore wind farm. It said that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation had written to the government seeking assurances about the 194-turbine Navitus Bay Wind Park, which Eneco Wind UK and EDF Energy Renewables are planning. However, the newspaper reports today that homeowners worried about new renewables projects planned near their homes may be fretting needlessly, as enough applications have already been granted planning permission for the nation to meet its 2020 green targets.

Local enterprise partnerships are unaccountable, opaque and duplicate the work of local authorities, according to a survey of shire-county Conservative leaders reported in The Times (subscription only). Half of respondents said the growth-promoting organisations were poorly structured, while a slightly greater proportion said LEPs did not communicate enough with local business leaders.

Finally, The Independent carries a report calling for the creation of a housing crisis battling "minister for social planning". Architect Sam Jacob is quoted defending Britain’s post-war new towns and suggests that "aesthetics" is not the problem the nation should be battling, but affordability and economics – issues the new ministerial portfolio would deal with.


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