Published: 20:36, 06 August 2020
| Updated: 21:20, 06 August 2020
"Kent's villages and hamlets will vanish under indetikit developments" due to a government scheme which overhauls the planning system to getting homes built, says one councillor.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled changes to the way homes plans will be considered in England, which he said will make it quicker to build much-needed new properties.
But Swale council's cabinet member for planning, Cllr Mike Baldock (Swale Ind), has criticised the move saying it will make it more difficult to secure affordable housing in the borough.
Under the new policy, all land will be put into zones with the aim of stopping local opponents blocking development.
The scheme, which is open to consultation until Thursday, October 29, would mean Local Plans will have to set clear rules rather than general policies and be map-based.
Reacting angrily to the proposals, Cllr Baldock said: "The government is about to unleash on this country a new planning regime that will tear up all the hard-fought rights and controls communities up and down the country have striven for over the past few decades.
"In 2012 the conservatives introduced the principle of “presumption in favour of sustainable development” - which effectively required local authorities to have to say why something was harmful.
"From a national perspective this will feed the developer hunger for land in the south east, where profits are highest, and stretch the highways and social services infrastructure in those areas even further.
"The green fields of Kent are the developers' main targets and these will be gobbled up as quickly as they can be.
"Villages and hamlets will vanish under the sprawl of huge conurbations with soulless development and identikit housing estates."
He went on to say environmental and quality standards would suffer as a result of the proposals.
He added: "These proposals would make securing the affordable housing that is badly needed, both in Swale and across the country even more difficult as they give almost all the power to developers.
"The suggestion of pushing back the introduction of more environmentally friendly building standards will undermine attempts to battle climate change.
"These proposals completely undermine local councils and show disregard for the democratic process.
"Local democracy is being destroyed. I would now turn to all Conservative Councillors and our local MPs and ask them - did you get into politics to serve your local people or to serve a political party and seek power?"