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

DI Praveen Naidoo, with some examples of the scam letters received by a North Devon person. Picture: Sarah Howells

Operation Jessica gears up for day which could result in rise of scams across North and West Devon.

Read more
07:25
Scenes from the big Chemo Appeal Abseil at Heanton Church.

Fundraisers defy gravity to help swell Chemotherapy Appeal funds at Heanton Punchardon abseil event.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:55
The HMS Explorer will not be calling in at Ilfracombe tomorrow. Picture: Stephen Ring

An overnight stop by Royal Navy ship HMS Explorer on Saturday has been cancelled due to bad weather.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:36

Two 19-year-old victims were allegedly kicked and punched by a pair of men in Barnstaple, can you help?

Read more
Yesterday, 13:26

New Road partially blocked but due to reopen shortly

Read more
Yesterday, 13:16
The land at Fremington sold for £22,000.

Four acre plot on estuary fetches four times its guide price at Clive Emson auction.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00
****

Survey by The Children’s Society finds council tax debt is ‘widespread’ among North Devon and Torridge.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:30
North Devon Leisure Centre in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

Fitness consultancy launches new class at North Devon Leisure Centre to help people who have survived a stroke.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:00
Sarah Stott from Childrens Hospice South West with members of staff from Dainton's self storage.

Barnstaple storage facility raises more than £6,000 for Children’s Hospice South West.

Read more
Thu, 19:00
Rodney Cann will stand as a Conservative in the May local elections. Picture: Tony Gussin

Deputy leader of district council will stand for the party he was deselected from at the last election.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 9°C

Most Read News

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
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

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



North Devon's trusted business finder