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Liz Kildunne
Thursday, August 11, 2011 18:18
New Planning Regulations
I wrote to Julian Smith MP regarding the new planning proposals as I am concerned that we have been "sold down the river" and could be under even more threat of development. Below is a transcript of the letter he sent in response. I urge everyone to read the summary of the draft Framework and respond to the consultation which is open until 17th October - this is your chance to make your views known. Note that reference to Green Belt does NOT apply to Craven - ours is greenfield, Green Belt purely relates to the protected land around cities:

"Thankyou for contacting me about the Government's plans to simplify Whitehall planning guidance. I have taken careful note of the points you have made and will certainly bear them in mind during my discussions with Ministers and others in the coming months.

England's national planning policy is now over 1000 pages long, on top of volumes of Regional Strategies created under the last Government, and in addition to council's own Local Plans, Planning has become lost in translation - the sheer complexity of planning rules makes it inaccessible for both local firms and local residents. The planning regime has become the preserve of lawyers, town hall officials and pressure groups, rather than empowering local communities.

The Coalition Government is committed to decentralising power to local people and making the planning process more accessible both to local people and local firms. We are already abolishing Labour's unpopular Regional Strategies via the Localism Bill, protecting the Green Belt from top-down removal in 30 towns and cities across England.

The next stage of reform is to condense down the 1,000 pages of confusing and contradictory guidance to a succinct 52 page policy document, called the National Planning Policy Framework. This has been published by the Government in draft and is out for public consultation until 17 October 2011. I would encourage you to read the summary of the new Framework available at:

I would also strongly recommend that you respond to the consultation.

The Coalition is committed to protecting our natural and historic environment. This new document safeguards valued, national protection such as Green Belt, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest, as well as ensuring measures which protect wildlife, biodiversity, cultural heritage and which tackle light pollution. It also proposes a new designation to protect local green spaces in need of special protection, which I believe will be welcomed in our area.

Indeed, the Framework explicitly attaches great importance to Green Belts in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment and checking the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas. It also directly states that local plans should minimise adverse effects on the local or natural environment.

These practical changes are part of a series of broader reforms to drive sustainable development, to promote local economic growth and protect the environment. Local firms and local communities are currently hindered by a planning system that can be slow, costly and gives them no certainty. Development will not be allowed if it is clearly in conflict with the environmental and other safeguards in the Framework.

Local communities will be in the driving seat by being able to determine the shape of their local communities, supported by the innovation of neighbourhood planning - increasing the involvement of local residents.

Thankyou again for taking the trouble to let me know of your views on this important issue"
Paul Wilkinson
Friday, August 12, 2011 10:42
I received an identical reply "Dictated by Mr Smith but signed in absence".
Liz Kildunne
Friday, August 12, 2011 11:38
You are the third person to advise me of this - mine also had the "dictated by" phrase - a standard letter - I am really disappointed
Paul Wilkinson
Friday, August 12, 2011 12:56
Isn't mail-merge wonderful!

On 11th July 2011 the House of Commons voted, at 10pm at night and without debate, on INCREASING the UK's subscription to the IMF by 9.2 BILLION (from 10.5bn to 19.7bn). Julian Smith voted in favour of this, the motion was approved.

Liz Kildunne
Friday, August 12, 2011 13:02
and another two also!

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