Your paper (Craven Herald, August 13) carried almost four pages of coverage of the government’s new White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’ (PFTF) with its theme of “build beautifully” and key phrase, emphasised by your headline and the prime minister, “ripping up the rule book.”

This review of British planning represents a real opportunity to modernise and reform British housing, but unfortunately it is largely focussed on making life much easier for builders. There is some limited, critical awareness in some of your coverage. Two contributors note the deleterious implications of PFTF for accessible housing in the Craven district and one pours scorn on the target date for eco-houses being so far away as 2050. The main thrust of this reform is simply to speed up planning and therefore building.

This includes allowing a range of buildings to be constructed – warehouses, shops and industrial buildings – without any planning permission. There was a report published on the same day as these proposals, commissioned by the government, on warehouse/industrial buildings conversion done with reduced planning permission introduced in 2015. Its conclusions were that 22 per cent of these buildings failed to meet nationally agreed space standards and only 3.5 per cent allowed access to any outdoor space. Not at all beautiful then. There is little or no mention in PFTF of the really vital questions facing British housing. Between 2013-2018 already inadequate planning processes allowed over 84.000 homes to be built in high risk flood zones; we can now expect many more.

In large parts of the country, including The Dales, many young people will never be able to afford to buy their own home on their present wage levels. Yet this report also fails to mention “housing for rent” at all despite the fact that 37 per cent of the population now do rent. There is also no mention of accessible housing and the words “disabled people” never appears despite the existence of 13.9 million disabled people in the UK. What a lost opportunity this awful planning paper is.

I urge all readers and local politicians to make sure considerably better policies eventually emerge in the final legislation.

Phil Lee

The Garth