MP calls for new measures to ensure local infrastructure
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has called for new measures to ensure that there is adequate local infrastructure to support new housing.
The MP has tabled an amendment to the Growth & Infrastructure Bill, which is being debated in the Commons today, to require planning authorities to identify that there is, or will be, sufficient infrastructure to support new development in their development plans.
The amendment has been supported by 20 other Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs, including Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames.
'Infrastructure' is defined to include roads and other transport links, flood defences, schools, medical facilities etc.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph today, Mr Herbert raises the issue of residents in his constituency who are affected by heavy rain causing lavatories to overflow and sewage to run in the streets.
After hearing about these concerns the MP held a 'summit' meeting on the issue at Chichester College's Brinsbury Campus in his constituency last week (Friday 7 December) to discuss the problem.
The meeting brought together District and County Council leaders, the Environment Agency and representatives of Southern Water, including Chief Executive Matthew Wright, with representatives of Sayers Common, Barnham and Pulborough who explained how inadequate drainage affected their villages.
In his article, Mr Herbert says: "Sewage is the most extreme symptom of an ever more common problem - a lack of infrastructure to support development. Residents move into new homes, only to discover that the local schools are oversubscribed. Roads which may have been adequate in a village become congested in what is now a small town.
"There is meant to be a system in place that lets communities capture some of the profits made from selling land for development, allowing local infrastructure to be improved. But it hasn't delivered sufficiently. The Government hopes that a new Community Infrastructure Levy will do better. And the new National Planning Policy Framework, published earlier this year, says that planning authorities should work with others to assess the 'quality and capacity of infrastructure ... and its ability to meet forecast demands'.
"But while this sounds good, it doesn't actually require planning authorities to ensure that the roads, school places and sewage systems will be there when development is permitted. A stronger duty is required. And that's why, supported by 20 Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs, I have tabled an amendment to the Growth & Infrastructure Bill, which is being debated in the Commons today, requiring planning authorities to identify that there is, or will be, sufficient infrastructure to support new development in their plans."
Mr Herbert makes clear that the aim of his amendment is not to prevent necessary new housing. But he concludes:
"The Government's definition of 'sustainable' development is 'ensuring that better lives for ourselves don't mean worse lives for future generations'. This means that we should not deny young people the chance we've had to own our properties. But it also means taking care not to damage the countryside. And at the very least, it means ensuring that where such housing is needed, there is adequate infrastructure to support it."
Notes for Editors
1. The amendment can be found here:
The signatories of the amendment are:
Nick Herbert, Martin Horwood, Nicholas Soames, Crispin Blunt, David Ruffley, Henry Bellingham, James Gray, Philip Hollobone, Andrew Mitchell, Robin Walker, Greg Mulholland, David Tredinnick, John Hemming, Dominic Raab, Rebecca Harris, Zac Goldsmith, Peter Luff, George Freeman, Stephen Barclay.
2. Nick Herbert's article can be found here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9749458/We-need-houses-but-dont-forget-the-sewers.html