True localism

The following letter has been sent to MP Hugo Swire:

I’m sure you follow the “progress” of planning matters closely in East Devon, and these highlight the problems consequent to our membership of the EU.

Eric Pickles has made some sensible proposals, but this planning issue is a time bomb, as I’m sure you appreciate.

I would, therefore, suggest to you the following:

Consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework

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The draft National Planning Policy Framework will have dire consequences for the British countryside and small towns and villages across the UK.

My specific concerns are as follows:

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1. Communities should have the right to say ‘no’ to local developments, as well as the right to say ‘yes’ to building on the Green Belt.

2. There must be no presumption in favour of development. Local communities must have the final say on all plans through binding, citizen-initiated referenda. This is true localism. ‘No growth’ must be accepted as a valid local strategy option.

3. It should be made easier, cheaper and less bureaucratic to build on brown field sites. These urban areas are the places that need jobs and homes most. Government should exhaust all brown field development sites before building on Green Belt land.

4. The government must make use of the one million empty homes in the UK before building on Green Belt land.

5. All attempts must be made to limit immigration into this country, to ease the rate of population growth, reduce the need for mass house building and make community development more genuinely sustainable.

I trust you will oppose this ill-conceived proposal which poses a major threat to our wildlife, our landscape and, in particular, our communities.

John Kelly

Timbers Chase, Hulham Road, Exmouth.

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