Controversial plans to build more than 300,000 homes a year are set to be announced during the Queen’s Speech – but after the country heads to the polls for the local elections.
A local residents party leader said that the bill is controversial even in Tory shires, where people are unhappy with the proposals.
“These donations make many Conservatives uncomfortable with big businesses having a say into our plans.
“The biggest concern is giving developers automatic planning permission. It removes the local authorities’ ability to shape their local communities.”
He added: “It shows that it’s a government that wants to control everything through created elected police chiefs and regional mayors, and now removing the control from councils which is undemocratic and anti-devolution.
“That is the opposite of what they say they are planning to do.”
Mr Starr said there are many problems with the current housing plans.
For instance, he said there will be much less evidence required from developers to submit planning applications.
This comes from page limits which may be imposed, as well as the removal of existing assessments.
Neighbourhood plans, which ensure residents can have a say in housing developments, are at risk of stopping carrying any weight.
And environmental assessments, which allow local authorities to ensure developments are sustainable, do not increase pollution or harm habitats, are also at risk.
“The government is trying to remove the objections and tools that councils can use, to make sure that the developments are sustainable,” Mr Starr said.
He added: “The government is looking to tip the balance in favour to the developers and away from local people through these measures.”
He expressed concerns over the fact that developers are not “required” to deliver houses after they are granted permission to build them.
“We believe there is a serious flaw if the goal of this planning change is to force developers to build more houses.
“There are no powers for local authorities to make developers build them and we can’t control the planning system if they don’t build what they have permission to build.”
Last year, the government published a White Paper, which included two consultations – one on the planning reform, and another on housing numbers.
And now it’s back in the public eye, albeit Mr Starr said the government has backed off on housing numbers.
He said the plans would have seen a massive increase in houses but without the infrastructure – which many local communities oppose.
Related: What is a residents party?