Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

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, 17:36

Councillors turn down controversial proposals to earmark the region for wind energy

Read more
Yesterday, 17:16
North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones (right) with Steve Crowther, Michael Pagram, Joanne Bell, Mark Cann and David Chalmers on the estuary near the Yelland site.

Cross party call for end to ‘planning vacuum’ that favours developers

Read more
Yesterday, 12:18
Barnstaple's Queens Theatre

North Devon councillors have agreed an offer from North Devon Theatres Trust for the leasehold of the Queen’s Theatre and the Landmark Theatre.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:10
Work by Polly Morris

There’s tonnes to see and do around the town this Saturday and Sunday

Read more
Yesterday, 11:30
Could you volunteer?

Charity needs female volunteers to help with rape and sexual assault victims’ support helpline in Barnstaple and Exeter.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:41
Guy Harrop

Take a look at Guy Harrop’s commended Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year photo.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:30
Sidney Teckman, front centre, pictured with members of his family during his visit to the Saunton Sands Hotel in April this year. Picture: ND Photos

Hotel has special appeal for loyal holidaymaker, 95.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:50

Here is a quick snapshot of each candidate to help make up your mind when the region goes to the polls tomorrow (Thursday)

Read more
Yesterday, 09:45
The Queen Street car park in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

North Devon Council will increase charges after a six year freeze.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:35
Bideford residents are calling for a 'zero tolerance' policy on drug abuse in the town.

Bideford Town Council is holding its first information surgery day in Bideford on Saturday.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 8°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

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

Read Online

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

Newsletter Sign Up

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications