Keir Starmer to vow ‘big build’ in Labour conference speech with ‘low-quality’ green belt reclassified as ‘grey belt’
Keir Starmer will vow to reclassify ‘low quality’ green belt land today as he puts a ‘big build’ at the heart of his Labour conference speech.
Sir Keir is to lay out an ambition to construct thousands of new homes, and even new towns, by streamlining planning and removing obstacles.
State-backed companies will be given compulsory purchase powers, with infrastructure such as schools and GP surgeries ‘hard-wired’ into the developments. Georgian-style town houses are expected to be favoured to maximise the impact, with tough rules about making properties affordable.
But controversially the Labour leader will suggest that ‘low-quality’ green belt such as scrubland and car parks should be tagged as ‘grey belt’.
Keir Starmer (pictured at conference yesterday) will lay out plans to construct thousands of new homes, and even new towns, by streamlining planning and removing obstacles
Sir Keir will put a ‘big build’ at the heart of his conference speech today
Sir Keir will warn activists at the gathering in Liverpool against complacency, despite the latest poll showing the party in an 16 point lead
Drawing a clear dividing line with the Tories – who are badly split over how hard to push on housebuilding – Sir Keir will say: ‘That pebbledashed semi was everything to my family.
‘It gave us stability through the cost of living crises of the Seventies, served as a springboard for the journey I’ve been on in my life.
‘And I believe every family deserves the same.’
Sir Keir is calling for a ‘decade of national renewal’ to ‘heal’ the country, as he tries to seal the deal with voters – and outlines controversial plans to reclassify the green belt.
But he will warn activists at the gathering in Liverpool against complacency, despite the latest poll showing the party in an 16 point lead.
Worryingly for the Tories, their standing has actually gone backwards since Rishi Sunak wrapped up their conference last week.
Teeing up the speech in a round of interviews this morning, Labour frontbencher Pat McFadden said Britain is ‘a country where it takes too long to build things… we’re going to have to make building things in this country a quicker process’.
Developers will get ‘planning passports’ allowing them to build on brownfield land, with a ‘stronger presumption in favour of permission’.
Design specifications will urge ‘gentle urban development’, pointing to the tall townhouses popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Tories are split between shire Tories who are against development and pro-housing MPs who argue the party must do more to attract younger voters.
And at its conference last week, Lib Dem members forced the leadership to keep annual housebuilding targets in its manifesto.
Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves pledged yesterday to overhaul the ‘antiquated planning system’ and slash the time it takes to approve major infrastructure projects.
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