Problems with planning

Planning continues to be a topic that fills my postbag and email inbox each week, with letters from constituents who are concerned about proposed developments and planning applications in their communities, writes Peter Luff MP.

I share the frustration and anger felt by local residents about some proposed sites for development and I know that this frustration has often been channelled towards Wychavon District Council. Normally planning decisions do rest with the district council but things are not normal right now. Developers can now ride roughshod over the wishes of local people due to failings in national planning policy.

Unfortunately Wychavon District Council has been put in a very awkward position. Through the South Worcestershire Development Plan the council is putting together a local plan to determine the best areas for development Ė and thatís not without controversy either. However, developers have been able to apply for planning permission on unapproved sites because the councilís local plan has not yet been finalised. This means that Wychavon often have no choice but to grant these planning applications.

I do of course support the building of new homes and social housing. The fact remains that as a nation we are living longer and it is only fair that our young people are given the opportunity to own their own home, but it is essential that these homes are built in the right places.

I have spoken to the Planning Minister, who has been sympathetic to the situation in Wychavon but I am finding it difficult to get any definitive answer from Government. Wychavon District Council and I have been working together to try and get the change in planning policy that we need and I continue to do all I can to get it.


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