Comment: community-led planning is the goal but pitting neighbours against each other is a recipe for disaster

There are many obstacles to home-building in the UK, but Nimbyism (or local opposition) is a key one. Robert Jenrick, the previous communities secretary, proposed reforms to planning that would help the Government reach its goal of 300,000. This included forcing new developments into designated areas. This idea proved controversial in many key Tory constituencies. His successor, Michael Gove has decided to scrap that idea. He said instead that his Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill would give people more control over housebuilding in their areas. This was a controversial idea that proved to be deeply unpopular in many key Tory constituencies. It is amazing how small-scale planning can work, as demonstrated by the north London neighbors who got planning permission to match their terraced houses with extensions. Their homes were also valued when they were expanded. Would they have liked to see a large development with several hundred homes in the area? It’s possible. Nevertheless, planning disputes between neighbors are among the most bitter of battles. Formalizing these frictions seems like a recipe to spite. READ MORE ‘Utter madness’ for neighbours to vote for planning permits, says committee chairmanLevelling Up and Rehabilitation Bill: New homes behind target across London, but some boroughs are worse than others. The only way to go: How our roof extension led us to planning permission for the entire street. It also risks depriving us the future’s adventurous architecture, not least because it encourages “beauty.” If Ian Fleming, a conservation-minded author, had been able to win the support of his Hampstead neighbors with one of Gove’s street votes Erno Goldfinger’s groundbreaking 2 Willow Road might not have been built. Fleming might not have created Goldfinger, the Bond villain, as Fleming did.