Both sides in the Tory battle over housebuilding have a point – and both are wrong

toby lloyd index

Only an enlightened and innovative approach to planning and development can get us out of this political cul-de-sac, says Toby Lloyd

The Conservatives are in a bind about planning and housebuilding. Again. The fallout from last week’s local elections prompted another spasm of in-fighting over housebuilding targets, as the nimby and deregulatory hemispheres of the Tory brain both seized on the results as proof of their cause.

The “planning concern” group, led by Theresa Villiers, claim the drubbing the Tories got showed they had to listen to voters in their heartlands by letting them refuse new homes in their backyards. This wing had already forced the government to abandon mandatory targets in local plans; they now insist that opposing top-down targets should be a dividing line in the forthcoming general election. Labour, understandably, is trying to capitalise on Tory woes by feeding headlines about their willingness to take on the nimbys.

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