What the Queen’s speech said on housing and what it could mean for Sussex

Campaigners and residents in Sussex fed up with ‘unrealistic’ housing targets were hoping to see signs of action in the Queen’s Speech yesterday (Tuesday May 10).

Prince Charles, standing in for the Queen at the reopening of Parliament, outlined the government’s priorities for the next year.

Reform of the planning system was announced to ‘give residents more involvement in local development’.

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Secretary of State Michael Gove is due to unveil a Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill in the Commons later today (Wednesday May 11).

Prince Charles reads the Queen's speech in the House of Lords Chamber, during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster on May 10, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

According to the government this would ‘improve the planning system to give communities a louder voice, making sure developments are beautiful, green and accompanied by new infrastructure and affordable housing’.

A new approach to environmental assessments would be introduced, a new non-negotiable levy would be set locally to deliver infrastructure, and the process for local plans would be simplified and standardised so they can be completed quicker.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Gove said communities had been ‘resistant’ to new developments because the infrastructure needed ‘have not come with those houses’, while plans had often being ‘overridden by distant inspectors’.

He spoke about ‘numbers being plonked down just to reach an arbitrary target’.

Mr Gove added: “We are going to do everything we can to ensure that more of the right homes are built in the right way in the right places.”

He went on to say he did not want to be ‘tied to a Procrustean bed’.

But with Mr Gove saying the country needs more homes, it is yet to be seen whether councils in Sussex will have the power to put forward successful arguments for lowering their housing figures, currently imposed on them by central government.