Published: 10:34, 24 May 2021
| Updated: 16:17, 24 May 2021
Government plans to shake up the planning system to allow developers to build houses without the need for council permission have been slammed as "utter madness".
This is according to Cllr Alan Jarrett (Con) who says he is horrified by the proposals, which would allow companies to bypass set procedures to build in zones allocated for growth.
The government has come under fire over its plans, with many saying that it represents a developers' charter.
The Medway Council leader told KMTV’s Paul on Politics show: “I am horrified – it is taking the brakes off and allowing a developer-led planning system which can only be a bad thing.
"We already have huge planning targets in Medway and we are already having difficulty meeting those."
He said Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick was “entirely wrong” to blame councils for holding up the acceleration of house building, and he took a side swipe at MPs for failing to stop the shake-up.
“We have about 7,500 houses with planning permission in Medway which are not getting built," he added.
"The problem is not with councils it is with the market; developers will only build at a certain rate, they will not flood the market with new homes, will they?
"To trash the planning system and open the doors to developers to do what they want with a presumption they have outline planning permission is utter madness.”
Asked if wanted Kent MPs to vote against the proposals, he said: “That is a matter for them but I think they should have done a more robust job lobbying the government throughout this process to be frank.”
Medway Labour leader Cllr Vince Maple also voiced concerns.
He said: “We have Robert Jenrick saying to democratically-elected councils ‘it is going to be nothing to do with you’ – and that is not acceptable.
"We absolutely have a housing crisis; we need to build houses in Medway and across Kent that should be at a level rate; we have thousands on the waiting list, so we can't say we will never build a house again.”
He added it is vital the correct infrastructure is in place where development took place.
Several Kent MPs have already spoken out over the reforms.
Sittingbourne and Sheppey's Gordon Henderson says he would defy the government unless he was given assurances it did not intend to foist more housing on his constituency.