Tuesday 18 October: The consultation closes, our campaign goes on – Media round-up

 As the consultation over the controversial planning reforms came to a close yesterday we were able to hand in our petition to Downing Street, which received over 200,000 signatures, urging the Government to re-think its planning changes. The signatures have been collected online, in local communities and at National Trust properties throughout England. We also had the opportunity to provide evidence at a Commons committee investigating the planning reforms. Sir Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust, argued at the hearing that there was “no evidence” that relaxing rules on development would help the economy.

Over the past few weeks it has been clearly demonstrated that the people of this country truly care about their local community, their local environment, and their local economy. We will continue to campaign to ensure that the government truly listens to all those that have raised their concerns during the consultation period, and that a planning system is delivered that is fit for purpose, and puts the right developments in the right places.

 National Trust: Planning reforms are no magic bullet

Overhauling planning rules is “no magic bullet” to boost economic growth, the Chairman of the National Trust has said. Sir Simon Jenkins stated that there was “no evidence” that relaxing rules on development would help the economy. He also told MPs examining controversial government planning changes there was a “massive” amount of brownfield land already available for building on.

“The link between the availability of land with planning permission attached and either the state of the housing market or economic growth in general is simply not proven,” he said. “I do not regard there is some magic bullet in the planning system that aids economic growth anywhere.”

200,000 demand rethink over planning reforms

More than 200,000 people have signed a National Trust petition calling on the Government to rethink its controversial planning reforms. Around 210,000 signatures, collected online, in local communities and at National Trust properties across England, had been handed in by yesterday – the last day of the Government’s public consultation into the proposed reforms.

 The ‘huge’ lobbying war chest behind the builders

Sir Simon Jenkins, the organisation’s chairman, said the “fingerprints” of rich builders were all over the reforms, which campaigners say will give developers carte blanche to build on large parts of rural England. “We are up against some very rich and powerful people,” he told MPs on a Commons committee investigating the planning reforms. His comments come amid growing concerns about the influence of lobbyists and business figures on ministers and government policy. The Daily Telegraph disclosed last month that an elite forum of property developers charged “key players in the industry” £2,500 a year to set up breakfasts, dinners and drinks with senior Conservatives. The club raises about £150,000 a year for the party.

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