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Major success for local voice campaigners as planning changes are paused

17th September 2021

As sources for the government confirm that they will be pausing their unpopular plans to change planning rules, we celebrate a successful campaign and urge Michael Gove: ‘take a fresh look’.

Just over a year after the government put forward their original plans to change the rules that control what gets built and where, we’re celebrating the news that the toxic changes are now on hold.

As we await the formal announcement from the government, we at CPRE, the countryside charity, are marking this landmark win for campaigners for the countryside and for local democracy.

‘You simply can’t cut out local voices’

Commenting on government sources confirming a pause to changes to the planning system, Tom Fyans, our deputy chief executive, said:

‘This reported pause to the government’s deeply unpopular changes to planning says one thing – you simply can’t cut out local voices when trying to decide what gets built where. Today could be a key turning point for the future of our countryside and rural communities in desperate need of genuine affordable housing.’

'Today could be a key turning point for the future of our countryside and rural communities.'
Tom Fyans, CPRE deputy chief executive

‘While we wait for the formal announcement, we’ll continue to work with concerned MPs on positive changes to the planning system that are long overdue.

‘Nothing could be more urgent than empowering local communities to protect their precious green spaces while delivering the affordable homes they desperately need and, at the same time, responding to the climate emergency by regenerating the countryside.’

CPRE: ready to work with the new housing minister for a better system

We welcome Michael Gove, the new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and stand ready to work with him to make sure that local communities – and the climate – get the best deal possible when badly-needed new homes are built.

We urge Mr Gove to listen to local communities and not developers when considering the future of planning. Tom says:

‘As Michael Gove grapples with his new in-tray, we urge the government to take a fresh look at how to grasp this golden opportunity of creating a planning system fit for the 21st century that has people and nature at its heart.’

We’re delighted that the government has seen sense and pressed the pause button on its previous deeply unpopular and downright damaging plans to change building rules.

But this isn’t enough: we want to see a better planning system that works for people and the planet, and we’ll keep calling on Mr Gove and the government for this.

'Over 310,000 of you signed petitions asking the government to reconsider.'

In the meantime, we’re celebrating this milestone and want to thank all of our supporters and members for adding their voice to this campaign. Over 310,000 of you signed petitions asking the government to reconsider, and over 6,600 more have written to your MP.

Today shows that people power really works, and the government is hearing your concerns. We’ll keep up the pressure and stand with local communities to keep local democracy as a cornerstone of the planning system.

Want to keep being a part of it? CPRE members get extra perks, including local group connections and discounts at attractions, and you can join from as little as £5 a month. Join now.

A woman sits in a garden with houses visible behind and pets a dog
A woman in a successful rural affordable housing estate in Essex raises a glass Kerry Harrison / CPRE