LETTER: Get a real local voice in Westminster

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I find it astounding that we have developers, in this case Mayfield Market Towns, telling us they are ‘helping’ our district councils to achieve the arbitrary and unattainable housing targets set by our arrogant, condescending central Government.

They have the audacity to tell us that it is all too complicated for us ordinary mortals, and councillors, to understand while criticising our local councils for not engaging.

Mayfield intend to ‘help’ us with, not only, 10,000 houses in the soul of West Sussex but at least another 5,000 near Horsham and all so we might achieve this Government’s planning framework objectives.

If we don’t allow Mayfield to ‘help’ us, the implicit threat is the Planning Inspector will allow Mayfield to trample all over us, and our green and pleasant land.

Your investigative article mentions that this Government scrapped the South East Plan in 2010 replacing it with the National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF) and its ‘working’ target of building 650 houses every year – when in the eight years leading up to the recession the district only averaged 450 per year.

If councils, who do not build houses, fail to achieve this ‘working’ target the Government allows unelected Planning Inspectors to over-ride the planning judgements of councils - and every time the Planning Inspector over-rides a planning decision our councils suffer a major financial penalty.

Little, or no, account is taken, by these Planning Inspectors, of the impact on roads, schools, doctors’ surgeries and our quality of life.

South Downs MPNick Herbert wrings his hands in disappointment, stating he will abolish the Planning Inspectorate while fully aware that the Infrastructure Bill currently going through the House of Lords increases the power and scope of Planning Inspectors to not only override local decisions but to also control the sale and development of our municipal, publicly owned, land.

Our parks, playing fields and allotments will be taken from local control and given to the growing army of this Government’s enforcers to sell and develop as they see fit.

We need an election now to rid ourselves of the current crop of out of touch, self-important, political representatives, get a real local voice in Westminster and start fighting for our heritage.

PETER GRACE

Arundel and South Downs UKIP Parliamentary Candidate, Chanctonbury, Ashington