Don’t silence communities on planning

Metro Mayor Dan Norris has warned local people risk being gagged from speaking out against inappropriate developments in the West of England as the House of Commons votes on the so-called Developers’ Charter (today Monday 21 June).
The Metro Mayor has branded the Government plans “unacceptable and undemocratic.”

The Government’s proposed reforms of the planning system will remove powers from elected local representatives and hand them to Whitehall-appointed boards of developers.

Boards will oversee a new zonal system that allows developers to build at will in areas designated for growth. Communities will be consulted only in the development of five-yearly local plans and will be no longer be able to intervene in individual planning applications.

When the ‘Planning White Paper’ came out which sets out how the Government wants to change the law, it failed to mention the role of local combined authorities like the West of England, which Dan Norris leads.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “I want plans for new housing decided by people who know Bristol, South Gloucestershire or North East Somerset and Bath, not by boards of developers appointed by faceless bureaucrats in London. We need more affordable housing but that needs to happen with the consent of local people. Local residents are already frustrated because they feel powerless to influence planning decisions that affect their own communities – these Government plans will only make that worse. Sadly this seems more about payback to developers for their massive increase in donations to the Conservative Party than about improving ordinary people’s lives. Money shouldn’t talk – the people should. If they don’t change path there is a real danger of inappropriate building all over the countryside and bulldozing our precious green spaces, while at the same time creating sub-standard houses without proper local facilities.”

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