SO local MP Harriett Baldwin is finally making noises about planning.
Unfortunately, it is too little, too late. The reality is that our rural landscape is under attack as a result of Conservative national planning policy and the failures of local Tory administrations.
Tories control the three south Worcestershire councils and the SWDP process. Their mismanagement has let everyone down.
Local Tories delayed the process before the last election because they hoped Labour’s regionally dictated housing targets would be scrapped and that a Tory Minister would put planning decisions back in local hands. They have been sorely disappointed.
Thanks to Mr Pickles and the National Planning Policy Framework, developers in Malvern Hills can expect to get planning permission for almost any housing development. If councils turn applications down, planning inspectors are very likely to give permission on appeal because the council can’t demonstrate a five-year development land supply.
The national inspector rejected the SWDP in September stating that housing numbers are too low. We now face at least a year of open season for landowners and developers before the plan is agreed and in place. It makes a mockery of the localism that Tory ministers claim drives their planning policy.
Yes we need more housing – particularly affordable housing – but not anywhere, at any price.
Most villages can accept a modest amount of development but what we are seeing will totally change the character of rural settlements. Who benefits? Not local communities, that’s for sure.
CATHY JACKSON-READ Political spokesperson for West Worcestershire Liberal Democrats