MP cheers important shift on national planning policy
6th March 2014
West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has today welcomed measures announced today which will help to prevent speculative planning applications in the county.
Harriett has campaigned and lobbied extensively to ensure that draft local plans are taken into consideration when ruling on local planning applications and has met with the Minister, the Chief Planning Inspector and held debates in Westminster on the critical local issue.
In response to her campaign, Planning Minister Nick Boles today issued a Ministerial Statement outlining a series of measures to clarify the Government’s planning policy.
Nick Boles said in his statement: “Government is committed to reforming the planning system to make it simpler, clearer and easier for people to use, allowing local communities to shape where development should and should not go.
“Planning should not be the exclusive preserve of lawyers, developers or town hall officials.
“We are also committed to ensuring that countryside and environmental protections continue to be safeguarded, and devolving power down not just to local councils, but also down to neighbourhoods and local residents.”
Harriett commented: “Yippee! I am delighted that the Minister has taken note of the extensive lobbying I have done both in debates and one-to-ones. This really answers a lot of the questions I've been posing on behalf of my constituents.
“This is clear proof that the Government is listening and I hope that in the small print of this statement, local authorities will be cheered by these steps.
“Draft plans must now be considered in planning applications and I hope that this will help our local planning officers to get the right developments in the right places at the right times. Also years 11-15 in a plan, which, let's face it, are far too far off to allow certainty, have been downgraded in importance.
“Of course, it is now vital that the local Planning Inspector takes account of this new guidance and ensures that all speed is given to the completion of his assessment of the South Worcestershire Development Plan.”