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Leicestershire Liberal Democrats

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draft planning reforms pose serious risk to local communities says Lib Dem Leader on County Council

September 9, 2011 12:36 PM
By Simon Galton

Leicestershire is to have two representatives on a national board responsible for the Environment and housing issues in Local Government. Following internal party elections, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Leicestershire County Council, Simon Galton, will join David Parsons on LGA's Environment and Housing Programme Board. One of the Board's key responsibilities is planning which means it will be responding to the Government's controversial proposals contained in the draft National Planning Policy Framework.

Simon said: "As a member of this Board I hope to have an input into the LGA's response to the proposed changes to the planning system. I have no problem with the draft Framework taking thousands of pages of bureaucracy out and producing a simpler and more streamlined guidance, but this has to be balanced against creating a system which puts the interests of developers over people and places. As currently written I am very concerned that all developers will have to do is prove a council's 5 year housing supply figures are wrong and they can get their proposals through."

"David Parsons and I may disagree on many things but I hope this is one area where we can work together to ensure the emerging planning framework does not create a 'developers paradise' in Leicestershire. I have already written to several Liberal Democrat MPs on this issue and they share my concerns that as currently drafted, the 'presumption in favour of development' creates a real danger for local communities and the environment. Existing planning guidance says the Countryside should be protected for its own sake and new framework should not weaken this key principle.

My place on the LGA board is an opportunity to part of responding to this issue, alongside the response that the Liberal Democrat group on the County Council is preparing and my ongoing work with Members of Parliament."