MP Theresa Villiers has urged the government to drop a controversial algorithm that could double the housing target in Barnet and encourage “East Berlin-style tower blocks” to be built.
Speaking in a parliamentary debate on planning last week, Theresa welcomed concessions made by Ministers responding to her concerns around new permitted development rights. These concessions would see neighbours informed and allowed to object to upwards extension of properties.
However, she said that the proposed new method for calculating the target for homes to be built in each borough had to go, otherwise overdevelopment would damage the suburbs and the environment.
“The new algorithm could more than double the housing target in the borough of Barnet and require the equivalent of a small new city somehow to be crammed into outer London. That would see the suburbs change forever,” she told MPs.
“There is simply no way the algorithm’s numbers would be achievable without the major urbanisation of the suburbs, and in the Covid era, when the importance of homes with gardens and space to breathe has become ever more apparent, do the Government really want to be cramming East Berlin-style tower blocks into thousands of neighbourhoods across the country?”
Theresa said she did not want future generations to look back in the same way that the country looks at the architectural disasters of the ’60s, which left many people living in poor-quality homes in blighted communities.
“I am asking the Government to… listen to these concerns and to drop their housing algorithm.”
She added: “I recognise the need for new homes. Indeed, the borough of Barnet, where I live and part of which I represent, has been delivering more new homes than almost any other London borough, but the Government’s rush to build must not come at the expense of our environment, or at the expense of the quality of homes produced."