Councillors to send letter to Government over new homes avalanche saying ‘enough is enough’

10:33 16 January 2014

People can see the plans and give their opinions at the Civic Centre, Barnstaple

People can see the plans and give their opinions at the Civic Centre, Barnstaple

Archant

NDC vote to ask MP Nick Harvey to take letter to Westminster airing concerns over planning issues

North Devon councillors have decided that ‘enough is enough’ as local planning authorities come under increasing pressure from central government.

This week, the Gazette revealed that a coalition of local development action groups – DEFEND North Devon - had spoken to the district councils in North Devon and Torridge about organising a public debate on the current planning issues.

And at a full council meeting last night (Wednesday), councillors voted unanimously for NDC leader Brian Greenslade to send a letter to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles and Planning Minister Nick Boles to show their disapproval at the current situation – made worse by new Government plans to withhold bonuses for new homes.

Following a heated but one-sided debate on the issue, Councillor Sue Croft suggested that the council take the letter to Westminster through MP Nick Harvey, saying it was ‘too important not to’. Councillors moved that the leaders of each of the groups in the council should agree on the final wording of the letter and that everyone who wanted to should sign it.

Councillor Joe Tucker sparked the discussion by submitting a notice of motion which claimed that local planning authorities were being placed in a ‘straight jacket’ by the National Planning Policy Framework.

“I have been on the planning committee for 11 years and never before have I seen so much pressure placed on members,” said Cllr Tucker on Wednesday.

“We are having guns held to our heads.

“I am sure there is pressure from up above which is putting us in a very difficult position and I think enough is enough.

“We have got to make a stand and see the leader of this council write a letter to Mr Pickles and Mr Boles saying how undemocratic it is to take away the authority of not only this council but right up and down the country council’s are under pressure.

“We all know we need housing and this council has about 2,000 planning consents in place but we cannot go on and on. I don’t want to see the countryside covered in a load of concrete.”

Council leader Brian Greenslade pinpointed the lack of a five year land supply as ‘something which needs to be sorted out’, adding that it was ‘causing problems for local democracy’.

That sentiment was echoed by Cllr Richard Edgell, who said: “it is extremely worrying that when we get our local plan in place we still won’t have a five year land supply.

“I think it’s important that we refer to the fact that it’s the five year land supply that is the problem, otherwise it is a case of make hay while the sun shines for developers.”

Cllr Faye Webber, who has been a member of the council since its inception in 1974, said: “when we were on the planning committee at the start it was all about the public and bit by bit it has all become about money and this is another nail in the coffin. This isn’t democracy.”

Cllr David Worden, a member of the planning committee, said he now felt ‘totally redundant’ and said he ‘might as well not be there’.

Chairman of the planning committee Cllr Eric Ley worried that Mr Pickles and Mr Boles ‘wouldn’t take a blind bit of notice’ to a letter, before Cllr Croft’s proposal that the letter be taken to Westminster by the MP.

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 23:16
The scene on the A39 tonight after two cars collided and caught fire. Picture: Kathryn-Racheal Ring

Road closed and reports of one man dragged from a blazing car as emergency services rush to the scene

Read more
Yesterday, 14:08
Green Lanes in Barnstaple.

Green Lanes Shopping Centre, Tuesday, August 4

Read more
Yesterday, 13:11
Phil Rayment photographed the Velella Velella on Westward Ho! beach.

Creature found on Westward Ho! beach is identified as a ‘by the wind sailor’.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:44

Police appeal for information after three birds found dead following ‘rare’ poison attack

Read more
Yesterday, 09:41
Do you recognise any of these items recovered by Barnstaple police?

Police have released a series of images of silver items believed to have been stolen in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Bideford and South Molton.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:10
The scene of the fire in Torrington.

A woman was taken to hospital after five fire crews battled to fight blaze at Torrington terraced home.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:20
Fiona Leighton-Fowler with Jessie Head, Marie Curie fundraiser for Devon. Picture: Sarah Howells

Braunton woman is raising money for Maria Curie by completing 50 challenges ahead of her 50th birthday.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00
Sunshine at the North Devon Show.

The North Devon Show returns on Wednesday, August 5, with a jam-packed list of events. Find out 10 of the best things to look forward to here...

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00
ndg Orchard Vale Exmoor Youth Challenge Team with money raised.

Pupils raise £475.50 for Children’s Hospice South West with charity trek.

Read more
Thu, 14:41

Young people sprayed from passing car with ‘aggravating’ mysterious liquid

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 11°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition today E-edition


North Devon's trusted business finder