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Locals need more planning power – CPRE

[Monday 18 October 2010]

As the Coalition government prepares to announce what is forecast to be the biggest shake-up in the planning system for decades, the Campaign to Protect Rural England today (Oct 18) announces its own planning charter – and its main theme is the restoration of planning powers to local communities.

Under present rules, only developers have the right to appeal against planning decisions made by the local council – and if they win that appeal, the council can be faced with huge legal bills. The result is that hugely unpopular developments go ahead.

The CPRE is demanding that local residents can also appeal against unpopular decisions by “high-lighting key areas Ministers will need to address if this critical legislation is to succeed in protecting and enhancing the countryside, and regenerating our cities, towns and villages.”

In the past, the campaign has been accused of trying to stifle developments in rural areas and market towns. But the charter emphasises the need for more rural housing – so long as it is built to high standards and blends in with the local scene.

Says Shaun Spiers, CPRE Chief Executive: “Planning can often seem technical and inaccessible, but it shapes our landscape and the places in which we live and work.

“Planning influences how our streets will look and where we build our homes. Are we building for the long term and protecting the countryside for future generations, or are we allowing construction now that we will regret in later years?”

This advice will be read with interest in the Yorkshire Dales, which have been hit by two contrasting development strategies. In the national park, low cost house building has come to a virtual standstill because of objections from established residents.

But in market towns like Skipton and Settle, which lies just outside the national park boundaries, Craven District Council have given the green light to large scale housing schemes despite vocal opposition and angry public meetings packed by local objectors.

Full details of the CPRE planning charter can be downloaded at ‘Making localism work for the countryside: CPRE’s charter for planning reform’

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