Shropshire’s councils raise planning concerns with Government Minister
A meeting with Planning and Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, to raise concerns about the impact of national planning policies in Shropshire was ‘very constructive’, Shropshire Councillors have said.
The meeting – held in Westminster on 17 December – was attended by councillors and planning officers from Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council, plus Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury & Atcham.
Over an hour was spent discussing issues around the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), Five Year Land Supply, changes to affordable housing provision on sites of fewer than 10, and the Select Committee Review Report into the operation of the National Planning Policy Framework, which was published on 9 December 2014.
Councillor Mal Price, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for planning and housing, said:
“This was a very constructive meeting at which we were able to make the Minister aware of planning and housing issues that affect Shropshire, our councils and our residents – particularly the impact of national planning policy.
“Councillors and the public are extremely upset at what is now happening in Shropshire and the inability of the Council to manage further development, particularly in the smaller towns and villages – with no guarantee that a ‘sound’ Plan will resolve the situation.
“Relations are deteriorating, planning committees are adversarial, the planning system as a whole is being brought into disrepute, with no sense of balance and proportion, and ‘localism’ is regarded as a sham.
“All the good work on preparing a community driven Local Plan is at risk. The public perception is that it is a ‘free for all’ for opportunistic developments unrelated to local context and character.
“It is not that communities won’t accept development. It is more that they now see the Council’s approach of working with them and shaping the future growth of communities as a waste of time.
“I’m therefore pleased that we had this opportunity to raise these concerns with Brandon Lewis.”
The meeting was attended by:
- Brandon Lewis MP and four senior civil servants
- From Shropshire Council: Councillor Mal Price; Councillor Dave Roberts; Ian Kilby – planning services manager; Nick Wood – communities and housing policy team leader; and Sue Adams – managing director of Shropshire Towns & Rural Housing
- From Telford & Wrekin Council – Councillor Charles Smith, Cabinet member for housing and development; Michael Barker – head of planning