New planning laws take power away from local democracy

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From: David Walsh, Western Road, Skipton.

Recent planning appeals in Craven have overturned the decisions of elected councillors. 
I believe other areas are finding the same. The impression is being created that it is pointless to turn down an application, no matter how right it might be to do so, because the inspectorate have been directed to overturn such decisions.

Was the whole concept of “localism” ever more than a 
piece of meaningless 
rhetoric?

Is it right that a single un-elected official from Bristol 
can overturn decisions made by locally elected representatives?

For a law to be workable, people need to believe that the law is even handed, and that belief is being undermined.

The new planning law gives little weight to local views in a planning appeal. There is a nod in that direction, but the hurdle is set so high as to make this meaningless.

The law must be changed. The local community should have at least equal rights to a speculative developer.

To those who believe that a construction boom will rescue us, I would point out that such a boom destroyed the Spanish economy. To benefit the economy, development needs to be necessary, and appropriate to the location.

If a thousand houses are needed in London, the problem is not solved by building a thousand houses at Ravenscar.

Apart from national infrastructure projects, the best judges of “necessary and appropriate” are the local community. I avoid the word “sustainable”, as the new law has made it as meaningless as “farm fresh”.

Also, I may be wrong, but I get the distinct impression that applications are being made and “banked” for better times.

There seems no hurry to start construction.

I avoid the word “sustainable”, as the new law has made it as meaningless as “farm fresh”. Also, I may be wrong, but I get the distinct impression that applications are being made and “banked” for better times.

There seems no hurry to start construction.

We need to add a community right of appeal to the planning law.

We also need to recognise that sometimes the planning authority has a vested interest, because they own the land in question.

The coalition has settled its mind on planning law, and moved on.

Our best chance appears to be to collect enough signatures to force a debate in parliament, and make them think again.

With this in mind, an e-petition has been published on the directgov website.

The title is “NPPF and planning appeals – community rights and planning authority conflict of interest”.

Since 100,000 signatures needed, I am hoping that you will draw this to the attention of your readers. Anybody unhappy with the way the new law seems to be going, should sign, and get their friends to do the same.