The government is facing a backlash from local councilors, including more than 350 Conservatives, over proposals to scrap the planning system.
More than 2,000 councilors and preachers across England have signed an open letter to Housing Secretary Robert Genrick urging him to reconsider plans.
Ministers want to reconsider the planning system, which they say simplifies the process, cutting red tape and using high-quality, sustainable home building through the use of technology.
Proposals include speeding up local planning by communities and creating zones for growth, renewal or protection, developing areas of development as long as it meets local design standards.
Proposals are also aimed at accelerating development in renovation areas, replacing the planning process with a clean, rule-based system and protecting green spaces by allowing more buildings on Brownfield land.
Councilors, however, say the plans would undermine local democracy by removing the public’s right to be heard on local planning tests and taking developmental decisions from elected planning committees.
They said the zoning system could drastically reduce the protection of nature, local green spaces and fail to address the climate crisis and put additional pressure on greenfield sites.
The proposals would also undermine the provisions for affordable, sustainable, good quality housing, the open letter warned.
The letter states: “In the right place, with the right development, we have the potential to achieve social equality and sustainable economic development, as well as fulfill our environmental ambitions. They will not be able to achieve this goal as the government’s proposals stand. ”
Crispin Truman, chief executive of the rural charity CPRE, which includes the letter, along with Grand Friends of the Earth, said it was not too late for the government to reconsider changes to the planning system.
“Well-planned can create affordable and well-designed homes for which communities have called,” he said. “We can build low-carbon and nature-friendly homes, with lots of green space at their doors, all connected to low-carbon public transport.
“Investing in a locally managed democratic planning system, which empowers local councils to create these places, should be a top priority for the government.”
Naomi Luhde-Thompson, senior planner at Friends of the Earth, added: “It is clear to many MPs, councilors and the local community that the Prime Minister’s vision for England’s development does not guarantee local controls and centers is the local voice. “
The proposals “would drown out the voices of the community, reduce local democratic responsibilities, and weaken legal protections for the environment,” he said.
James Jamison, chairman of the local government association, said the council was committed to ensuring that new homes were built and that the community had quality living space.
He said: “It is critical that these be delivered through a locally led planning system that empowers communities to ensure that new developments include a high-quality, well-built and affordable housing.”
He said nine out of ten applications were approved by the council and more than ten million houses allowed to plan in the last decade have not yet been built.
“Any loss of local control over development would be worrisome,” he warned. “It will deprive communities of the ability to define the area in which they live and give the developed people the freedom and risk to run rough rice in the local area.
“If we really want to address our long-term housing deficit, councils need the tools, energy and flexibility to plan and deliver the quality homes and spaces they need.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government said the concerns were unfounded and “showed a misunderstanding of our proposals”.
They added: “Our reforms in the planning system will protect our cherished countryside and green spaces for generations to come. The proposals will put local democracy at the center of the plan, enable the Green Belt decision to be with the council, and give communities a real impact on the location and design of development. “