Labour says local housing plans are 'crucial' despite Nottinghamshire protest

Angela Rayner during a visit to Nottinghamshire pictured with Jo White, Labour's candidate in Bassetlaw
-Credit: (Image: Nottingham Post/Oliver Pridmore)

Angela Rayner has acknowledged that "not everyone will be happy" about her party's housebuilding aims after protests about a new housing plan at a Labour-led Nottinghamshire council. Bassetlaw District Council has just approved a local plan setting out housing and business development sites in the area for the next 14 years.

Local plans were first introduced in 2004 and they involve councils outlining how they will build housing to respond to population growth, usually over a 15-year period. Yet Bassetlaw's plan caused concern among residents and a large number protested at the meeting which approved it on May 29.

If elected at the general election on July 4, Labour says it would build one and a half million new homes across the country within five years. To do so, the party says it is inevitable that some green belt land will be built on.

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Addressing concerns around development on such land, particularly after the issues raised about Bassetlaw's local plan, Angela Rayner said on a visit to Nottinghamshire: "We're going to make sure we get the housing that local people need and I do think that local plans are crucial to that.

"Whilst there is some opposition to it, we have a housing crisis in this country and by ending no-fault evictions and by ensuring we have those local plans with the infrastructure and local input, we can build the houses we desperately need.

"I know not everyone will be happy about that, but we're being honest about the best way forward because if we carry on the way the Conservatives are going, we'll have more financial crisis for councils, more people and families homeless.

"The developers, when you don't have a local plan, will be able to come in and just make their own choice on what they want to develop and that wouldn't be good for local areas either." Ms Rayner made the comments during a visit to Carlton-in-Lindrick, near Worksop. Attending her visit were figures including Jo White, Labour's candidate in Bassetlaw, and James Naish, Labour's candidate in Rushcliffe.

Ms Rayner also used the visit to defend the way in which Neghat Khan was elected as Nottingham City Council's new leader, with the process totally excluding local councillors and instead seeing Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) having the final say. Labour's deputy leader, who herself sits on the NEC, said: "The NEC have rightly put a process in place where we have high standards and a high bar for all of our candidates because we want to put forward the best possible people.

"We've had 14 years of chaos... We're not accepting that in Labour. Labour wants to be a party of government that will change working people's lives for the better, so we have a high standard for our candidates and we will make sure that we continue to do so."