MP’s choice of words angers campaigners

HORSHAM MP Francis Maude’s description of opposition to the Government’s planning reforms as ‘bollocks’ has been slammed as ‘a thoroughly arrogant, rude and misguided statement’.

The senior Conservative cabinet minister said in an interview in the Independent on Sunday he had no sympathy for the position of grassroots campaigners or the National Trust.

Campaigners in the Horsham district hit back this week with the Save Our Sussex Alliance stating: “What a thoroughly arrogant, rude and misguided statement for any Minister to make in the national press, and especially one who is a senior minister in the current Government living here in Sussex, one of the most rural and picturesque counties in the UK.”

In the interview, Mr Maude also said the Big Society is ‘not a government programme’.

Asked whether he had sympathy for opponents of planning reform, Mr Maude said: “No. I mean our position is right.

“I think this idea that creating a presumption in favour of sustainable development is somehow a massive erosion of the ability to conserve, is bollocks, frankly.

“Actually the presumption that we are putting in place is arguably more constrictive, because it’s a presumption in favour of sustainable development instead of just development. So I think there’s a lot of misapprehension about this.”

For the rest of the reaction and more on the County Times It’s Plan Crazy campaign, see this week’s paper.