LETTER: MPs should intervene

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As reported in the WSCT (June 20), Horsham District Council (HDC) could lose the right to decide major planning applications – because it refuses to rush through complex and contentious applications at the expense of communities and the environment.

Communities in Horsham District are already besieged by developers. Imagine the harmful consequences should the right to determine major planning applications be taken away from the council. Developers and the Government acting through the Planning Inspectorate, not communities and their elected representatives, would decide where and when to build and the number of houses to be built.

That HDC’s right to determine applications and the communities right to be consulted is now at serious risk is extraordinary given that the Government, including Horsham MP Frances Maude, has insisted that the purpose of the Localism Act and National Policy Framework (NPPF) was ‘to put the power to plan back in the hands of communities’ and ‘that local people – the local authorities-must be at the heart of planning’.

Will the district’s two MPs Francis Maude and Nick Herbert intervene to ensure that Horsham District Council and the communities that they represent retain ‘the power to plan’ and ‘that local people – the local authorities’ – are at ‘the heart of planning’ – not developers, Government Ministers and the Planning Inspectorate?

Dr R F Smith

For and on behalf of CPRE Sussex-Horsham District