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Local voices must be heard on planning

November 19, 2014 8:02 AM
By Karen Hambridge in Hinckley Times
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Pressure to ensure residents have a say on planning issues is continuing to be put on Whitehall by local councillors.

Councillor David Bill MBE

Cllr David Bill

Following David Bill and Michael Mullaney's stinging letter to all three political party leaders branding the planning system a shambles, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council has formally endorsed their criticism

Michael Mullaney at Autumn Conference 2014

Cllr Michael Mullaney

The two Lib Dem Hinckley Trinity representatives called for civic backing at the recent full council meeting and for their protests to be further distributed to influential agencies.

At the end of the meeting Councillor Bill proposed a motion which was seconded by Councillor Mullaney and carried by the members that: "This council endorses the letter sent to the three national party leaders on the need for a genuine local voice in planning and agrees that this should also be sent to the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Local Government Association and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) for their information and for a response."

Cllr Bill had already raised his concerns with the RTPI at a conference in Leicester. He said: "I expressed the fact as local members we are being told by the Government to push through housing development at all costs and yet the communities who elect us want to have a say on what happens and where the development goes and their views are being ignored.

"I think there is an acceptance new housing will be built but local people want to see it done in a more controlled way with their considerations taken into account."

The borough and county councillor said he had since had a relatively positive response from the RTPI and felt the tide might be starting to turn in favour of localism, if only very slowly.

He explained the RTPI shared the piecemeal 'just build' planning concerns, had expressed an intention to look into the speculative and unsustainable housing schemes being forced on local communities and had been keen on progressing with discussion on the issue.

Cllr Bill added: "Things will not change overnight but there are similar protests going on up and down the country, inspired by the Scottish referendum and the notion of devolving power.

"Our borough council has endorsed the concerns which will be passed onto our planning department. It might not mean change immediately but its all about the continuing to put pressure on and making our views known."

Further Information for Download

Letter to Party Leaders - Genuine Local Voice in Planning

Response from Royal Town Planning Institute

Royal Town Planning Institute Policy Paper