Damian has responded to plans to reform national planning policy, a key part of the Government’s house building commitment. Damian cautiously welcomed the proposals put forward by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, but stressed the unique circumstances affecting East Hampshire.
Commenting on the consultation, Damian said: "With more than half of East Hampshire falling within the South Downs National Park, housing targets set for the local authority have to be squeezed into a much smaller area outside the park boundary. This puts greater pressure on local services and increases housing costs.”
Damian added: “I’ve asked the department to make clear what its guidance will be in this situation as different rules need to apply. This will be vital for East Hampshire District Council as they continue to develop their local housing plan for the region."
Damian also urged caution when looking at increasing housing through ‘gentle density’, adding: “We have many beautiful villages in East Hampshire and what we cannot allow to happen is for their distinctive character to be lost through large housing developments. A balance needs to be struck.”
The Reforms to National Planning Policy Consultation, which ended on 2 March 2023, is part of the Levelling up and Regeneration Bill currently before Parliament.