Defend local planning and ensure your community’s voice is heard

An open letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government

This open letter is about the government's proposed changes to the planning system, as announced in August 2020 in the White Paper – Planning for the Future. It's open for signatures from currently-serving councillors from all political parties and will be sent to the Secretary of State, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, at a later date. The purpose of the letter is to demonstrate the widespread concern at the local level about the government's plans.

To date, over 2,000 councillors have signed the letter. You can add your name by filling in your details below. The list of signatories is here

The letter is being hosted by CPRE, the countryside charity, and Friends of the Earth. If you would like to find out more about the campaign we are running in opposition to the government's proposals, or if you have any general questions, please email Sam Keyte: SamK@cpre.org.uk. 

The letter

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.

Yours sincerely,

[The undersigned] 

Your details

NB By adding your name to the letter, you are not signing up to any form of mailing list and will not receive any further communications from any organisation associated with it, apart from the automatically generated email confirming your signature. Your name, role, political party and constituency will be included on our list of letter signatories here