LETTER: Everybody will be held to ransom

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It would appear that ‘localism’ is firmly off the agenda as the coalition is looking to give developers the power to push ahead without the approval of local councils and even environmental assessments where they may be required.

The coalition are intending to unveil a raft of new measures in April which will make it easier for developers to bypass the local authority and press ahead with new developments citing the need to save time, money and administration.

Currently councils normally grant planning permission for new developments with conditions attached, of which can include building of flood defences, landscaping of local area or planting of trees and even upgrading of infrustructure.

Under the new proposed legislation, planning applications will be automatically approved if councils do not discharge a condition within the required timeframe.

This has the potential for developers to build without the requirement to build flood defences or improve the infrastructure surrounding the development.

Richard Blyth, head of policy at the Royal Town and Planning Institute quotes the policy will mean developers ‘can hold everybody to ransom’.

The proposed legislation will also attempt raise the threshold as to when a development requires an environmental assessment, this will leave thousands of developments without the need for an environmental assessment.

I appreciate the need for new houses to be built, however I am a firm believer it should be the responsibility of the local authority to make the decisions on where developments are sited, not an unelected Planning Inspectorate with no grasp of the local situation.

NEIL WHITEAR

Vice-chairman, UKIP Horsham Branch, Crawley Road, Horsham