Councillors receive ‘disgraceful’ reply from planning minister

12:19 27 February 2014

NDC leader Cllr Brian Greenslade

NDC leader Cllr Brian Greenslade

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NDC leader promises ‘robust response’ to Nick Boles’ reply on planning issues

NORTH Devon Council is planning to launch a ‘robust response’ to a ‘disgraceful’ reply to their letter to planning minister Nick Boles.

Councillors wrote a letter to the planning minister last month and nine of them travelled to London to deliver it by hand and air their concerns on the pressure being put on local planning authorities by central government.

They feel that more and more pressure is being put on local authorities to approve planning applications after the government announced that the ‘new homes bonus’ could now be lost if decisions are overturned at appeal.

The bonus could also be under threat if approved developments are not completed within five years.

That could be worth around £700,000 a year to the already cash-strapped council.

Council leader Brian Greenslade said he was ‘very grateful’ to the planning committee for ‘doing what you do’, saying “It is a shame as I think the words we have used about you being in a ‘straight jacket’ are very real.

“The letter we have received back from Mr Boles is frankly a disgrace.

“We have to fight on the issue of the new homes bonus as the government is still causing local authorities big problems and the democratic is widening, so we need to keep at it.

“If we have granted permission it is not our fault if a development is not built within five years.”

Cllr Joe Tucker, who originally brought the motion to send a letter before the council, labelled Mr Boles’ reply ‘a complete and utter insult’.

“It’d not right,” he said. “There was a lot of work which went into the pages of detail we gave him and to get three or four little paragraphs back is ridiculous. We cannot accept a reply of this nature.”

Cllr Greenslade promised a ‘robust response’ from the council.

“We also carefully crafted a letter to the Prime Minister which covered even more issues to which we are still awaiting a reply,” he said.

“There will be a robust response and we will keep pressing on this issue.”

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