Lib Dems challenge Government planning 'power grab' - The Evesham Observer

Lib Dems challenge Government planning 'power grab'

Evesham Editorial 4th Oct, 2020   0

WYCHAVON Liberal Democrats leader has warned Government’s proposals to change the planning system will ‘disempower’ local authorities and allow developers to ‘run roughshod’ over local communities’ wishes.

A motion agreed at the Party’s Autumn Conference, making it official party policy, lays bare the risks of the Government’s proposals, which the Party argues amount to a Government ‘power grab’ that will reduce democratic accountability and public scrutiny undermining the ability of councils to determine planning applications.

Speaking in the debate, Coun Margaret Rowley slammed Government plans to change the method of calculating housing numbers which would increase the number of extra homes required in South Worcestershire up to 2041 from just under 14,000 to 43,000.

“It is difficult to see how 43,000 new homes can be accommodated in a sustainable manner, and very likely the majority would need to be in new towns which would require extensive infrastructure, new facilities and more employment sites,” she said.

“It appears that areas such as ours which have performed well with respect to housing delivery are to get the greatest uplifts.  Environmental constraints, or indeed actual housing need, are not being taken into account.

“Additional carbon emissions from already approved development and the proposed additional houses would mean that the aim for the South Worcestershire Districts to achieve zero carbon by 2050 would not be achieved without tightening building regulations, and the proposals do not say how this will be addressed.

“The proposals are the result of a centralised desk exercise which takes no account of the local situation.  It is vital to use local knowledge in developing local plans.  It is not possible to simply impose a national algorithm with no consideration of local constraints, and they have not considered the impact on, and opinion of, local communities.”

In supporting the motion, the Liberal Democrats reaffirmed their commitment to challenging the proposals through the Government’s consultation process, and rejected the reduction of local control which includes dropping public consultation on individual planning proposals.


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