So Geroge Osborne and Eric Pickles wade into the debate with a joint letter to the Financial Times – but they still don’t seem to understand our concerns.
George Osborne has vowed to defeat the alliance of conservationists in the row over planning reform saying: “No one should underestimate our determination to win this battle.” The chancellor’s intervention – in a Financial Times article with Eric Pickles, communities secretary – is an indication that the coalition is determined to stand its ground.
We responded with:
“The Government seems to think that greenbelts and other designated areas of countryside are all that anyone cares about. They are not, as the Government should have realised from the forestry debacle earlier this year.
“Our primary concern is what the government’s reforms threaten to do to the everyday places in and around cities, towns and villages that are hugely valued by local communities and are under threat from the Government’s planning changes.
“Whilst the Government is making warm noises about local communities in practice the NPPF loads the dice heavily in favour development and local people simply won’t get enough say over what happens in their local area.”
In other news:
Rural U-turn is essential. “The Government is this week facing a nasty dilemma. It can press ahead with moves to shake up planning laws, thus alienating its supporters in the shires, or it can perform a humiliating U-turn. Actually, “alienating” is putting it mildly. Tory voters, environmentalists and many, many readers of The Daily Telegraph are infuriated by changes to planning regulations that are heavily weighted towards developers. In effect, the proposals would force councils to grant permission for construction except in unusual circumstances.” The Telegraph also reported that the planning reforms could lead to loss of ancient woodland, according to the Woodland Trust.