Start Building Now
By Andrew Cooley
Don't be fooled. The Tory government's new proposals on planning are a direct attack on local democracy and a power grab by central government. Although the consultation is now over, you can still write to your MP to express your views at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can look at the -'Planning for the Future' white paper here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/907647/MHCLG-Planning-Consultation.pdf
"The present system has some weaknesses," says District Cllr Gill Moseley, "but it gives local people a voice on planning applications. It may be tedious, but it's fair, local and democratic. It has been built up carefully over many years, following the Poulson bribery scandal in the 1960s and 70s."
"Boris Johnson says he wants to 'tear that system up', but his plan is based on a lie. It's simply not true that the failure to build more homes is due to the planning system."
"There are existing planning permissions for over a million homes in England which developers have not started building." says Gill, who sits on the Forest of Dean's planning committee and chairs the Steering Group for Newent's Neighbourhood Development Plan.
"Developers could start work on these sites tomorrow to build the homes people need," says Gill. "Instead developers sit on land without penalties, waiting for the best opportunity for making a profit."
Big developers have given the Tory party £11million since Boris Johnson became prime minister, according to a report in The Independent.
"Now is not the time to throw out a system that works," says Gill "There are quite enough crises already without the disruption and distraction of attacking local democracy over planning."
"So, Boris, get your facts right, get your aim straight, sort out the developers and Start Building Now."