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Boris Johnson defends planning reforms

Concrete
plans: Johnson
wants simpler
scheme PICTURE: GETTY

BORIS JOHNSON insists his planning reforms will allow more social housing amid fears they will create slums and ignore local concerns.

Visiting a housing development in Warrington yesterday, the prime minister said: ‘What we’re doing is simplifying the process so you actually get much more affordable housing.

‘Democratic’: Robert Jenrick defended reforms PICTURE: PA

‘This solution gives them (builders) a much simpler infrastructure levy that enables them to build a much bigger chunk of affordable housing and help people on to the property ladder.’

New rules will involve quicker development on land designated ‘for renewal’, with a ‘permission in principle’ approach aimed at balancing checks with greater speed.

But the Royal Institute of British Architects warned they ‘could also lead to the creation of the next generation of slum housing’.

The reforms also caused unease within Tory ranks. Local Government Association chairman James Jamieson said: ‘Any loss of local control over developments would be a concern.’

Cotswolds MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown told the BBC: ‘We do need some reform but, as people who have tried this before have found, if you are not careful it does have knock-on effects.’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called it ‘a developers’ charter’ that says ‘nothing’ about affordable housing.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick — under fire for approving a housing development by ex Asian Babes publisher Richard Desmond — defended the reforms as ‘democratic’.