Dear Editor – I read with interest the articles on planning in the last issue.
It appears this Government wants to change the planning laws to make it easier for developers and builders. Already the law is biased towards the developer who, if he does not like the decision of the local planning office, can take it to the Inspectorate who are under pressure to ignore Local District Planning and Neighbourhood Development Plans, especially where there is not a five-year supply of housing, as in Bromsgrove.
This makes a mockery of all the work that has gone into our Bromsgrove District Plan and the work done by our parish councils to produce Local Neighbourhood Plans.
It must also be very demoralising for Bromsgrove planning officers who try to follow the local plans only to be overridden by the Inspectorate and there is no appeal process. Already this is a very undemocratic process and now the Government is putting forward new planning laws which will wipe away any local involvement.
What happened to Localism? The current Government appears to want to control everything from Whitehall and not give local people a say.
One of the most concerning aspects of the proposed change in planning is to threaten the Green Belt, which has served us well in preventing urban sprawl since the 1950s. I fear that if this Government gets its way, Birmingham will spread to the M42 or maybe even swallow up Bromsgrove and Redditch and all the countryside in between.
If we need housing for Birmingham overspill, there are plenty of brownfield sites that could be developed and, if that is not sufficient, New Towns in a suitable part of the country should be considered, with new infrastructure, not just spreading Birmingham indiscriminately.
We need our politicians to stand up to these top-down laws before it is too late.
Concerned Lickey resident