The main built environmentrelated policy issues are summarised below.
Put planning back in the hands of local government by:
- repealing the National Planning Policy Framework and in particular its presumption in favour of economic development;
- restricting the ability of the Secretary of State to call in planning applications;
- restricting the right of applicants to appeal only where there has been an error in the planning process;
- strengthening local authorities' powers to prevent changes of use for important community facilities such as local shops, pubs and meeting halls
- introducing a community right of appeal where a development is non
- compliant with a neighbourhood plan or local plan
- Support preservation of the historic environment, in part by being flexible about how older buildings reduce their energy use.
- Aim to ensure through planning that everyone lives within five minutes' walk of a green open space, and ensure local authorities have the resources to extend and maintain local parks
- Promote landscape-scale conservation, using reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, improved agri-environment schemes and the planning system
- Obliging government departments and local authorities to consider climate change and carbon reduction in all their planning over a long time horizon of 50–100 years. Specifically, local authorities should do so in all planning decisions.
- Council to toughen up its planning rules to allow refusal of fast-food chains near schools.
- Minimise encroachment onto undeveloped 'greenfield sites' wherever possible by reusing previously developed sites that have fallen into disuse.
- Give the Bank of England the powers it has requested to limit the size of mortgages in relation to the property value and the borrower's income.
- Take steps to ensure that development is more evenly distributed across the whole of the country, so reducing pressure on housing in the South East in particular.
- Make 'buy to let' less attractive, so reducing pressure on house prices, by removing tax incentives, including the deduction of mortgage interest as an expense, and reforming the 'wear and tear' allowance.
- Introduce new higher Council Tax bands for more expensive homes, with higher rates for empty homes.
- Scrap the government's Help to Buy scheme, which does nothing to help those in the greatest housing need and contributes to excessive demand, saving £600 million a year.
- Take action on empty homes to bring them back into use. There are about 700,000 empty homes. Halve this number through Empty Property Use Orders.
- Gradually phase out Stamp Duty Land Tax and consider a Land Value Tax.
- Reduce VAT on housing renovation and repair work (including insulation) to 5%, costing £1.6 billion a year
- Introduce the right to rent (where local councils step in to help those in difficulty with their mortgage to rent their home)
- Break up the big builder cartels and diversify the house building industry so that more homes are built by small and medium sized builders and by community - led and cooperative initiatives.
- Provide 500,000 social rented homes to high sustainability standards by increasing the social housing budget from £1.5 billion a year to £6 billion a year in the lifetime of the Parliament, removing borrowing caps from local councils, and creating 35,000 jobs.
- Devolve Housing Benefit budgets to councils, so they can design packages that improve access to housing in their local market and enable them to provide more council housing.
- The people of Wales should enjoy the degree of autonomy, perhaps including full self -government or independence, that they wish to have, as expressed in a referendum.
- Up until any such referendum, Greens in Wales will focus on improving and maximising the potential of the current devolution settlement
- Reflecting the devolved status of Wales within the UK, the Wales Green Party has an autonomous status within the wider party and publishes independent policy statements and its own manifesto covering all areas of devolved power. These include matters such as health, education, transport and housing
Greens in Wales would
- Increase real power at all levels, from local councils up to the Welsh Assembly.
- Increase the number of Assembly members.
- Push for the National Assembly to become a Parliament with powers equal to those in Scotland
- One benefit of these increased powers would be the ability for Wales to fully realise its potential as a producer of clean renewable energy.
Read the Green Party manifesto in full.
Our 'asks' to the incoming Government have been produced in the RTPI's 10 proposals for planning in the next Parliament.
See the You Tube video, 'In under a minute: Planning in the next Parliament with RTPI's Head of Communications'