As with most party conferences the real debate is on the fringe. This year there has been a number of planning and housing related fringe events here in Birmingham. It has also been the only place where you have any real debate.
The Policy Exchange event focusing on housing policy was a great old ding dong. The establishment was represented by the grandly titled Dame Fiona Reynolds, the Director General of the National Trust. An interloper bound into the debate and savaged the National Trust for their unreasonable opposition to Green Belt planning and the emphasis on brownfield. Katy John from the pressure group PricedOut won applause for demanding the government build homes that people actually want to live in, especially those in the 25-45 bracket.
During a lively exchange, perhaps unsurprisingly, Dame Fiona wasn’t quite sure what to say.