23 Nov 2010

Parish and Town Planning powers removed

As the local quarterly news, The Warbler, goes to the editor and printing later this week, the Whiteshill and Ruscombe Parish Chair, John Rogers will add his own comments on the changes to planning. It may also be linked to this blog and my comments on this as I was part of the inquiry into making changes.

Photo: Randwick woods

Many of the recommendations were accepted but the Cabinet went further and removed the current powers of Parish/Town Councils and ward members like myself to automatically have an item seen by Development Control Committee for a decision.

You can see my rather detailed discussion of the Full Council meeting (hopefully setting out both sides of the argument fairly) - and the decisions made here - and see my letter to local press here.

As I said at the time and at the Full Council meeting this is not the time to be making these changes. This seems even more so when I read the speech by Greg Clark in his talk to Localis on the 18th of November, 2010. See that here but note the following comments:

"But we don't just want people at a very local level to see the benefits of planning decisions: we want them to have a far greater opportunity to make or influence those decisions themselves. We want to enable neighbourhoods to exert more influence in the planning system than is currently possible. We aim to create a means for people to formulate their own plans about what their area should look like in five, ten, twenty years' time. This is a rethinking of how planning operates - creating new pressures and powers that operate from the bottom up, rather than the top down. The principle is simple. Local people come together and agree, "this is what we want our area to look like. Here is where we want the new homes to go and how we want them designed; here is where we want new shops and offices; here are the green spaces we want to protect."

"...We will have more to say about neighbourhood planning when we publish the Localism Bill. That's why, in the Localism Bill, we want to make it easier for local authorities, involving their communities, to draw up local plans - and to give them greater discretion to do it in the way they want, by cutting out excessive central prescription."

This move at Stroud District seems to go against what the Government are intending. We need to see how these changes impact on planning and there is a chance to review this decision in a year.

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