Landscape industry warns public input into housing decisions could risk big picture

Landscape leaders have warned about the loss of any strategic overview following the publication of the localism bill.

The Government plans to scrap regional housing strategies and introduce local council incentives for development through a new homes bonus and a community infrastructure levy. Local people will have an input in planning decisions via neighbourhood forums.

Landscape Institute vice-president Brodie McAllister said: "Localism is good, but what joins the dots at a strategic level?"

Urban planner Kevin Murray said efforts to stimulate local house building could be undermined if locals had too much of a say. "This could result in articulate middle-class nimbys hogging the debate and ordinary people not having a say," he added.

British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace agreed. "The new homes bonus must be backed with an obligation for local authorities to define and meet the housing needs of their communities," she maintained.

Royal Town Planning Institute chief policy adviser Kelvin MacDonald said national spatial priorities for housing and infrastructure were needed, along with a "broad view".

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