Julian leads MPs and peers in pressing Housing Secretary on improving planning system to boost rural economy
August 7, 2020
This week, Julian has led 11 MPs and peers in writing to the Housing Secretary requesting that the needs of rural communities and countryside enterprises are considered in the government’s public consultation on overhauling the planning system, which has just opened.
Acting in his capacity as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Rural Business, Julian coordinated sending a joint letter to the Secretary of State, highlighting how simple changes to planning could better facilitate sustainable development, promoting prosperity and productivity increases in rural areas.
A wider range of businesses, including science and tech, are increasingly choosing country locations, in addition to traditional agriculture and hospitality enterprises, and the relevant planning rules often do not take sufficient account of modern business and household necessities, such as connectivity, risking stagnation for communities. The complexity of the process can also deter businesses from applying, holding back the sustaining and creation of livelihoods.
Julian said: “The planning system must always protect the interests of residents, and prevent unwanted development in greenbelt and rural areas especially, but it should also facilitate economic activity and allow communities to remain viable by allowing the progress of applications that benefit residents and keep them in work.
Rural economic productivity currently lags some 16% behind the national average, and equalising this could be worth some £43 billion to our economy in England alone, benefiting everyone, including those in suburban and urban areas.
The rise in remote and home-working driven by coronavirus makes consideration of these questions especially timely, flagging up as it does the importance of allowing more remote communities to thrive. I look forward to the Secretary of State’s response to our letter.”