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Politicians and builders divided over planning overhaul

BBC Hereford and Worcester

Current planning laws are a waste of time, according to a Worcestershire developer.

The view from Lioncourt Homes comes as the housing secretary has announced sweeping changes to the planning system in England.

A bricklayer
Reuters

Robert Jenrick said local people would not be able to block developments in designated "growth" zones.

Several developments in Worcestershire have been built by Lioncourt Homes and spokesman Andy Faizey said the current system could delay construction for months.

"[We] had a situation were we applied for planning permission for 120 homes in a village that was going to take 180. Members turned it down, so we appealed against it. It got called in by Secretary of State who held on to it for 19 months."

Work on a building site
EPA

But the government's view that planning has become a barrier to building has been challenged by the Conservative deputy leader of Worcestershire County Council, Adrian Hardman.

"I don't think that is the case," he said.

"I mean, 90% of all planning permissions are granted within the due time and for those that aren't, there's normally jolly good reasons for it."