“Sand in the eyes” for localism

Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Tom Blenkinsop, today (14th January 2014) described new planning proposals by the Coalition Government as ‘sand in the eyes for any localism agenda they may have once had’.

The Coalition will unveil a package of measures in April that will give developers the power to push though applications without the need for council approval or environmental assessments.

Tom said:
“What we are hearing from the Planning Minister is that he is basically acting like a bully and kicking sand in the eyes of local communities and local councils. It destroys any illusions of a localism agenda that they may have once had – that pretence is well and truly over. These new proposals will allow developers to ride roughshod over local opinion.

“Put simply, any developer can now procrastinate over planning conditions and then use that as an excuse to blame the delay on a council and simply go ahead with their development – no matter how disliked it may be by local people.

“The removal of the onus to develop an environmental assessment for any large scale development is also worrying. In urban terms, it could mean that we see development on possibly polluted land or on land that could be prone to flooding. Whilst in rural areas it could mean that development could kill off rare animals and plant species – which an environmental assessment would have identified and have protected.

“Locally we know that developers are still interested in greenfield sites on the edge of Guisborough, and this will simply intensify that interest to the stage where we will see further incursions into our local countryside.

“It just shows that the Tories are simply in the pockets of the big builders and have no interest in the views and opinions of local communities.”

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