People overwhelmingly want to be able to have their say on local housing developments, a poll has revealed.
More than 80% believe they should be allowed to comment on individual plans for projects in their communities, according to a survey for the Local Government Association.
The finding comes amid growing anger among shire Tories at plans to cut planning red tape – a move critics claim could sideline residents from decisions.
The legislation aims to stop local opponents blocking development in designated “growth zones”.
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Fury at the proposals was blamed for the Conservatives’ shock defeat in this month’s(JUL) Chesham and Amersham by-election, where the Lib Dems stunned the Tories by overturning a 16,000 majority.
The LGA’s housing spokesman David Renard said: “Councils want to work with government to address the national housing shortage and develop the detail of its Planning Bill.
“We are committed to building the right homes supported by the right infrastructure, where they are most needed.
“However, as our polling shows, the overwhelming majority of local residents say it is important for them to be able to comment on all housing developments in their local area.
“People are rightly proud of where they live and so it is vital their voice can be heard, whenever, for example, a developer wants to build homes in a neighbouring field or in their street.
“This is why it is critical that the Planning Bill ensures a locally-led planning system remains in place, where communities have the power to shape and define the area they live in, street by street, and not just place by place.”
Yonder Data Solutions quizzed 1,006 adults by phone.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Our reforms will give communities a greater voice from the start of the planning process.
“By making planning much more straightforward and accessible it will be easier for local people to influence the plan and have their say on the location and standard of new development.
“Communities will still be able to comment on specific planning proposals as they are submitted to local planning authorities.”