Saturday, 22 October 2011

MP Dan Poulters views on Planning

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Herewith something from Dan Pouler MP about planning issues:

Dr. Dan Poulter's views on the housing situation in Ipswich:

"I wanted to outline my position and that of the Government on a few key issues to do with planning.
There must always be a presumption for brownfield over Greenfield development, and I will always do all that I can to preserve Suffolk’s natural heritage and countryside. Under the previous Labour Government’s system of divisive, top down house building targets, local councils were forced to accept unnecessarily high centrally imposed housing targets, which often encroached into green belt land. The current Government has scrapped these housing targets, and it will now be for local councils and local communities to decide what level of development is appropriate.
An example of the previous Government’s undemocratic planning system can be seen in the proposed Ipswich Northern Fringe mass housing development plan, where up to 15,000 houses and flats could be concreted over the green belt to the North of Ipswich, against the wishes of the local community. Whilst I am in favour of increasing the stock of affordable housing in Suffolk, so that young people are not forced to move away into neighbouring counties such as Essex in order to find a place to live, we must make sure that this is done in a way that is in keeping with the rural character of Suffolk, which demands small scale housing developments with affordable homes on town centre brownfield sites, and also appropriate locations in rural villages. The National Planning Policy Framework shows a similar commitment to affordable homes, families and young people, but development will not be allowed if it is clearly in conflict with local housing plans, or environmental safeguards.
As a part of its proposals to give local people more control over the way in which their communities are developed, the Coalition Government has introduced the Localism Bill. This bill is currently passing through Parliament but has not yet come into law. In future, local communities will have much more say in local planning decisions, and I believe this to be a good thing as it will allow houses to be built where it is required, and in a way that is in keeping with local character.
Finally, it is worth commenting that there will be some parts of the country that will see speeded up planning applications and processes, particularly where the Government is committed to improving the jobs and transport infrastructure. We are very lucky that in East Anglia, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft have been earmarked as a green growth hub and enterprise zone; this will bring in around 1500 new jobs. Together with those jobs there will be some additional housing and homes, particularly for workers and young families, and in these circumstances I believe it is appropriate for planning to be fast tracked, as it is to the massive benefit of the local economy.
I hope that this reassures you that the Government’s reforms will meet the needs of local people, and that the rural heritage integrity of Suffolk is safe. Please be assured that this is an issue that I care strongly about, and I will fight to ensure that the changes deliver positive results in Suffolk, and I shall continue to fight against the imposition of 15,000 new homes in the North of Ipswich under the previous Government’s plans."

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