Last month’s by-election defeat saw Tory fears about the political impact of widespread planning reforms become a reality. The government now has little choice other than to water them down
Last month’s by-election in Chesham and Amersham could easily become a defining moment for the government’s increasingly controversial attempts to reform the planning system.
This is because planning became arguably the most significant issue behind the stunning victory of the Liberal Democrat challenger Sarah Green. The Conservative Party’s shock defeat has therefore piled huge pressure on the government – not least from its own backbenchers – to abandon the reform programme set out in last year’s white paper, which proposed the introduction of a form of zonal planning, binding centrally-set housing targets, and the ditching of Section 106.
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