Lib Dem councillors are demanding Conservative County Councillors join them to oppose the Planning White Paper and to defend communities from being dictated to by developers.
At Full Council on 25 November, Councillors Nigel Robbins and Ben Evans are bringing a motion calling for the County Council to formally object to the Planning White Paper.
In doing so, the Liberal Democrat group is asking the Chief Executive and Council Leader to write to the county’s six MPs, outlining the County Council’s concerns, including (but not limited to):
- The removal of democratic and public oversight
- The new housing targets that threaten to overwhelm Gloucestershire’s districts; and
- Changes to affordable housing quotas, reducing the amount built in Gloucestershire
Commenting on the motion, proposer Cllr Nigel Robbins said:
“In attempting to ‘get Britain building’ the Government has directed its fire at Local Authorities, ignoring he fact that ninety per cent of all applications are passed by Gloucestershire’s districts. Instead, these proposals only serve to eliminate democratic oversight and remove any right for the public to object to nearby developments.
“In doing so, these proposals are a ‘developers’ charter’, empowering them to run roughshod over residents and elected representatives. These proposals must be revised to protect our environment and communities.”
Seconder of the motion, Cllr Ben Evans added:
“No-one is saying the existing planning system is perfect, however these proposals will do almost nothing to increase the number of affordable houses and encourage sustainable developments.
“There is still time to challenge these proposals, and I’m calling for our Conservative colleagues to support Gloucestershire residents by formally opposing the White Paper and outlining our concerns with the county’s MPs.”
The motion being brought to Full Council is:
Gloucestershire County Council’s Objection to the “Planning for the Future” White Paper
Proposer: Cllr Nigel Robbins
Seconder: Cllr Ben Evans
This council notes that:
- The Government consultation on the “Planning for the Future” White Paper has recently closed.
- The proposals would radically alter the existing planning system for all seven of Gloucestershire’s councils.
- The changes have been opposed by the all-party Local Government Association, currently led by Conservative Councillors, along with many other interest groups.
This Council resolves to ask the Chief Executive and County Council leader to write to the county’s six MPs to raise strong opposition to the proposed changes in the White Paper, and to request a delay in the publication of the proposals until further consultation has been held with the public, Local Authorities and planning professionals.
The letter must include, but not be limited to, the following objections:
- The presumption in favour of outline planning approval within 'growth' and 'renewal' areas removes democratic oversight and public scrutiny.
- The new method for establishing housing requirement figures would mean some districts will be overwhelmed by the new housing.
- Changes to the affordable housing quotas would significantly diminish the amount of social rent and affordable housing built in Gloucestershire.
- The time-scale of thirty months for producing a Local Plan is unrealistic.