LETTER: What happened to Localism?

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We continue to see letters bemoaning the Planning Inspector’s (PI) demand for even more housing (750 pa) over 20 years, when only around 450pa were built in eight years prior to the recession.

Why was it so easy for him to require that HDC should buck the market - when the council can’t force developers to build? It was because the council’s 650pa target failed to make an adjustment for market factors.

That left the door open for the PI to impose an even higher (and even more unrealistic) target and he was happy to walk through that door. Developers will also be happy with unrealistic targets because, unlike HDC, they carry no penalty when a target is missed.

So developers will remain in the driving seat and the judgement of local authorities and communities will be over-ridden, while indiscriminate development on green field and flood-prone land will again be on the cards.

Some continue to ask about the local MP’s role in all this and it may be recalled that Francis Maude gave an opinion, in a letter 19th March 2013. He said that if planning decisions are taken away from local people, it will ‘not only breed distrust in the planning system, but will lead to severe lack of protection of important resources like the countryside’.

So it is indeed odd that he has applauded the HDC ruling group for making ‘difficult decisions’. There is nothing difficult about leaving a door open.

As another correspondent observed, the ruling group ‘rolled over’ and did little to counter the risk that an even more impossible target would be imposed by the unelected PI.

Perhaps Mr Maude can explain exactly what he is applauding the ruling group for and what happened to Localism?

Of course he has something in common with the ruling group. It is that they are all in cahoots with the Planning Minister, of a Coalition that concocted the National Planning Policy Framework, that masquerades as a rational policy.

Also they both operate a Party Whip, which prevents them from exposing the spin and deception that has been practiced on us. They would not want to be seen to criticise the NPPF, would they?

NEIL WHITEAR

Chairman, UKIP Horsham Branch, Timber Mill, Southwater