Dear Secretary of State,
The government’s proposed ‘Planning for the Future’ White Paper and the ‘Changes to the current planning system’ consultation paper represent what would be the biggest change to the planning system since the Town and Country Planning Act in 1947.
As elected representatives from across the country and political spectrum, we understand the needs and challenges facing our communities and want to raise our deep concerns about these proposals.
We believe that removing both the right of the public to be heard in person at local plan examinations, and many development control decisions from democratically elected planning committees, will lead to an unacceptable loss of local democracy, scrutiny and accountability and lead to worse outcomes for communities. This will inevitably reduce the trust that the public has in the planning system.
The proposed zoning system could radically reduce protections for nature, local green spaces and fail to tackle climate change. This would place additional development pressure on greenfield sites and produce communities that are less sustainable and with a lower quality of life.
The proposals would also weaken provisions for affordable, sustainable, good-quality homes.
Finally, we are concerned that these proposals would make insufficient use of local evidence, weaken local policy and participation in building communities for the future.
A strong local planning system is an essential component of delivering sustainable development, community cohesion and a healthy environment. The right development, in the right place has the potential to deliver social equity and sustainable economic growth, as well as meeting our environmental ambitions.
The government’s proposals as they stand will not achieve these goals.
With this is mind, we urge you to rethink the proposals you have set out and work with elected representatives in developing a positive vision for planning.