I love planning but it can be frustrating at times. I have a track record of holding developers to account over social rent levels on all developments, because I know what it’s like to fall through the cracks and find yourself without a home.
In my opinion the way out of the housing crisis is to make long term investments in council owned properties that we can offer on secure tenancies at traditional social rents.
Housing is always viable. It always pays for itself. If we are to overcome the housing crisis then we need to be brave and base investments on a longer return, allowing us to build truly affordable homes.
Planning is a quasi-judicial committee and as such I always go in with an open mind, but there is an affordability requirement and this is something I always focus on along with other challenges such as fire safety, parking and carbon off-setting.
One of the big challenges is that the current working definitions of viability and affordability are too fluid and are open to legitimised abuse. In the coming years I think planning law should secure a standardised definition of affordability and the process for determining viability needs to be challenged.
I stood down from the Planning Committee after two years (2018-2020) to take on a new role within the council.