LETTER: Unrealistic targets are being pursued

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I note from recent letters and articles that one local councillor (Cllr Arthur) continues, in the face of the Planning Minister, to confront the smoke and mirrors that masquerade as a Planning Policy.

However, neither the columns of HDC’s leader, or the MPs, explain the real reason why speculative developments continue to be permitted, against the judgement of Local Planning Authorities (LPA). I wonder why!

For those that haven’t twigged yet, the reason is that LPA must pursue impossible 20 year targets (650pa for HDC) if they want their Local Plans to be adopted by the un-elected Planning Inspectorate (PI). When they inevitably fail to meet those targets, then the PI has a ready made excuse to permit speculative development.

That is why the National Trust recently warned that half of English councils with greenbelt land, are expecting to have to build on protected countryside, even though other brown field sites are available.

Development can only be brought under control, if the Planning Minister instructs the PI that targets can be adjusted, based on experience and what is reasonable. Neither Neighbourhood Plans nor Local Plans will counter that threat, for as long as unrealistic targets are pursued.

It should be clear by now that local MPs and the ruling group of HDC, are not going to confront the underlying cause of this problem and indeed the HDC leader stated recently that ‘we are obliged to use the Government’s Rulebook’ (ie the NPPF).

He seems to have decided to simply roll over and to whip his members, into doing the same.

Could it be that they disagree with their own Planning Minister, Nick Boles but they don’t want to be seen to break Tory ranks? Perhaps this is yet another example in which the political classes put their party before the interests of the people.

They should i) explain why the 650pa target is reasonable, bearing in mind that only 450pa were built in the eight years leading up to the recession, or ii) reassure us that they continue to challenge the Planning Minister, to allow targets to be adjusted according to reason.

We all understand that houses need to be built, so please don’t call us NIMBYs.

All people want is for Localism to work and for elected bodies with the local knowledge, to manage the impact of development. The government has clearly reneged on its promises of Localism, but hopes that we will not see through the smoke and mirrors.

Unfortunately for them, the people are waking up and they don’t like to be treated with contempt.

NEIL WHITEAR

Chairman, UKIP Horsham Branch, Crawley Road, Horsham