New planning minister Nick Boles defends 'I don't believe in planning' remarks
Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Local Government
New planning minister Boles defends 'I don't believe in planning' remarks
The Government's newly appointed planning minister Nick Boles was tonight forced to defend remarks he made two years ago when he said he didn't believe in planning.
Boles, who took up the position yesterday following Greg Clark's move to the Treasury, made the remarks at an Ipsos MORI seminar in December 2010 following his election as MP for Grantham and Stamford in May that year.
Boles, who founded influential right wing think tank, the Policy Exchange, said at the seminar: "Do you believe planning works? That clever people sitting in a room can plan how people’s communities should develop? Or do you believe it can’t work?
“I believe it can’t work, David Cameron believes it can’t, Nick Clegg believes it can’t. Chaotic therefore in our vocabulary is a good thing.
Confronted with the remarks on the BBC's Newsnight, Mr Boles said: "Let me tell you something about newly elected MPs. We're a bit like young children. We're attention seekers and you're desperately trying to get noticed by someone and that's what I was trying to do there and I think I succeeded given that it's been repeated tonight on the programme."
After being quizzed on how many people he thought would take up the offer of new extensions after the Government further relaxed domestic planning rules, the debate turned to reforms to the Green Belt.
He said: "The position on the Green Belt is not changing as a result of anything that has been announced today. There are currently flexibilities in the regime that many local authorities don't understand."
He added: "They're not being fully explored by local authorities. They are sometimes worried about how it's going to work. What we're trying to remind them today is that in exceptional circumstances - for instance Cambridge has used those exceptional circumstances - they can slightly change the boundaries of their Green Belt. We're offering to help them take advantage of that."
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