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Government plans to overhaul the planning system 'a disaster for Cornwall'

Government plans to overhaul the planning system 'a disaster for Cornwall'

Published by Helen Down at 7:15pm 3rd July 2020. (Updated at 7:16pm 3rd July 2020)

Government plans to overhaul the planning system to make it easier for homes to be built have been described as "a disaster for Cornwall".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this week that he wanted to "build, build, build" and as part of that wants to make it easier for housing developments to take place.

A major part of that would be to allow some developments to go ahead without the need for planning permission which would mean that local planning authorities like Cornwall Council would have little or no say over what is built in the local area.

Mebyon Kernow leader Dick Cole said that the proposals were "scary" and said his party would be campaigning against the changes.

In a statement MK said: 

"Mebyon Kernow supports large scale investment in public services and appropriate infrastructure as part of any recovery plan.  But we are very worried about statements from the UK Government. 

"The housing minister Christopher Pilcher has already publicly confirmed that he is looking to loosen restrictions in planning law, in particular to make it easier to push through housing schemes.

"The Prime Minister has meanwhile stated that he will be bringing forward the ‘most radical reforms of our planning system since the end of the Second World War’.

"The planning system already favours the developers over communities and we consider that any further loosening of the planning system would be a disaster for places such as Cornwall.

"Cornwall needs the ability to make its own decisions on planning and we will be continuing to campaign for greater local control and for our own development framework.

"At the moment they have done loads of things to loosen the system, people can do loads of things without planning permission.

"We need a proper planning system to make the proper decisions."

Mebyon Kernow leader Dick Cole

The Government has said: 

"Builders will no longer need a normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes."

Cllr Cole said: "Does that mean we could have houses being built on industrial estates? It is really scary stuff and I don’t think it has been thought through."

Commenting on the PM’s plans to reform the system Cllr Cole said: "What does that mean for communities and neighbourhood plans which have been drawn up with the help of local people?

"That is what really scares me – are they going to streamline planning so that large scale housing developments can go through regardless of what people living in the community think?"

Concerns have also been raised by Liberal Democrat councillors in Cornwall.

"Boris Johnson says the Tories want to “Build Build Build”. The last time a Conservative Prime Minister said those very same words (David Cameron in 2011) it meant giving the whip hand to developers who’ve since built hundreds of unaffordable homes in locations across Cornwall. Developments that were refused by Cornwall Council but won on appeal to Government Inspectors.

"Today the Government seems intent on forcing through more deregulation, this time under the guise of providing infrastructure, which takes local decision making out of the planning process altogether. 

"The council will have no say about what is built or where, while the only true beneficiaries will be the major house builders and their ever increasing profits."

Duclie Tudor, who is chair of Cornwall Council’s strategic planning committee

Housing development

"I have been a member of planning committees in Cornwall since the 1990s and a large part of my casework has always been about planning.

"I have seen countless examples of how London has imposed planning decisions and policies on Cornwall that have been bad and highly damaging. 

"I also feel that the Conservative Party are far too close to the big housebuilders who care about profits not building communities. 

"The people of Cornwall should be frightened about how this dictatorial government is acting."

Liberal Democrat group leader Malcolm Brown, sits on the central planning committee and strategic planning committee at Cornwall Council

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