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Revealed: the victims of Osborne’s latest green belt assault

5 September 2012

David Cameron’s choice of Nick Boles as the new planning minister sends a clear signal that he is serious about planning reform. The founder of Policy Exchange is a close confidante of the Prime Minister and has been trusted with reforms that have been attempted once and damaged Cameron’s reputation.

If the Chancellor is the winner from relaxed development regulations — which will be a core part of his Economic Development Bill next month — then his party stand to be the losers. The Campaign to Protect Rural England is already gearing up for a second battle:

‘If planning restrictions are relaxed, you’re not going to get any increase in the overall number of houses being built. All that will happen is an increase in the number of houses being built in the wrong places’

Helpfully, we know just where these ‘wrong places’ might be. The CPRE have released information on the top 35 places that are under threat, which we have plotted on this interactive map. Click on each pointer to see which developments are in the pipeline for MPs up and down the country:

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Not surprisingly, Conservatives are going to face the greatest threat, representing the highest number of rural constituencies. But it’s not just Tory backbenchers under threat; ministers old and new including Ken Clarke, Anna Soubry, Sajid Javid and Caroline Spelman would be affected by new developments resulting from relaxed regulations. Another MP who is affected is Liberal Democrat Don Foster, who today joined the Communities and Local Government department as a parliamentary under-secretary. Senior members of other parties are also noted by the CPRE, including Caroline Flint, Hilary Benn, and Julian Huppert. No doubt they will be fighting Boles to the bitter end.

Last time the government tried to reform planning regulations, they fatally agreed to dilute the proposals after heavy lobbying from the National Trust. Combined with a fightback on the ground, the government seemingly kicked building deregulation into the long grass. Labour has attacked the flip-flopping, with Chuka Umunna challenging the government ‘for God’s sake make your mind up’.

Yesterday’s reshuffle confirms that Cameron and Osborne have made up their minds and building reforms are a key component of their new growth strategy. When the planning applications start to roll in, they can expect a fight from not just residents, newspapers and the National Trust, but also from the MPs highlighted in the map above.

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  • pigou_a

    Right lets have a little think about this:

    Bromsgrove: Cons majority 21.9%
    Meriden: Cons majority 31.2%
    Kenilworth & Southam: Cons majority 25.9%
    Warwick & Leamington: Cons Majority 7.2%
    Bath: Lib dem majority 25.2%
    Bristol South: Labour majority 9.2%
    Christchurch: Cons majority 31.2%
    Luton North: Labour majority 17.5%
    St Albans: Cons majority 4.2% Cons – Lib Dem marginal
    Thurrock: Cons majority 0.2% Cons – Labour marginal
    Reigate: Cons majority 27.2%
    Mole Valley: Cons majority 28.8%
    Woking: Cons majority 12.9%
    Newcastle upon Tyne Central: Labour majority 21.9%
    Hexham: Cons majority 13.3%
    Broxtowe: Cons majority 0.7% Cons Labour marginal
    Don Valley: Labour majority 8.3%
    Barnsley Central: Labour majority 18.6%
    Wakefield: Labour majority 3.6%
    Dewsbury: Cons majority 2.8% Cons Labour marginal
    Leeds Central: Labour majority 28.5%
    Bradford East: Lib Dem majority 0.9% Lib Dem Labour marginal
    Wythenshawe & Sale East: Labour majority 18.6%
    Wigan: Labour majority 23.8%
    Halton: Labour majority 37.5%
    City of Chester: Cons majority 5.5% Cons Labour marginal
    Morecambe & Lunsdale: Cons 2.0% Cons Labour marginal
    Sefton Central: Labour majority 8.0%
    Fylde: Cons majority 30.2%

    I’m no expert but I suspect it’s going to take something pretty remarkable for Mark Menzies MP of Fylde to be at any risk of losing his seat.

    I count seven marginals, one of which is Cons-Lib Dem.

    Now let’s think a little bit more. In order to win elections politicians need to win over the swing voters. Are swing voters:

    a) Older people typically living in the countryside who really really hate to see anything change, particularly the party they vote for.


    b) Younger people, typically living in urban areas, who would really really like somewhere more affordable to live, who have little or no party allegiance?

    It’s almost as if the Conservative press is determined to see the Tories lose. Maybe there’s like a Darwin award for political coverage they’re trying to win?

    • andagain

      Few tories have to worry about the swing voters until 2015.

      But they all have to worry about the party’s internal politics.

      Still, I would be more impressed with them if they were a little embarrassed about opposing planning deregulation whilst loudly demanding deregulation for everything else.

    • TomTom

      Younger Voters in urban areas have no money and no jobs – try Bradford West with the fastest growing unemployment in England.

  • James

    Can you post a map plotting the locations of the constituencies containing victims of the house price bubble, house building slump and the transfer of wealth from savers to debtors? Thanks.

  • Daniel Maris

    Please don’t put “reform” the planning regulations – please put “dilute” or “abandon”.

    The only reason we are having to abandon our planning regulations is because of mass immigration driving our population up to 75 million and we need to build more rabbit hutches as a consequence.

  • Daniel Maris

    Please don’t put “reform” the planning regulations – please put “dilute” or “abandon”.

    The only reason we are having to abandon our planning regulations is because of mass immigration driving our population up to 75 million and we need to build more rabbit hutches as a consequence.

    • TomTom

      Especially in Dewsbury and Bradford which already have high population density with Bradford + Leeds being bigger than North or South Yorkshire and having 50% population of West Yorkshire in two cities whose boundarioes join

  • alexsandr

    piss of most of west london and berkshire and many shire counties in 1 day. genius. what a wazzock

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