Steve calls on Communities Secretary to take public opposition to planning applications into account

Steve has written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles MP, to ask him that in the name of Localism; public opposition to planning applications be taken into account.


Steve's call comes following the recent decision by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate to approve an unpopular application for an 11.8 metre high telecommunications mast in the heart of leafy Bournville.


In a letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles MP, Steve said:


“I would like to raise my concerns about the number of constituents who contacted me to register their opposition to this particular planning application.


“Over 700 constituents signed my petition to request that Birmingham City Council reject this planning application back in January 2012. I understand this may have given the Council a further reason to reject this application in the face of strong local opposition.


“Yet, I’m surprised to see that the Planning Inspectorate have not considered the level of local opposition when approving the developer’s appeal, and the National Planning Policy Framework makes no mention of official guidance for Planning Inspectorate decision-makers when local opposition exists to communications infrastructure applications.


“As a Government committed to localism; surely local opposition to a telecommunications-related planning application, if reasonable, should carry more weight than is currently the case when the Planning Inspectorate rules on an appeal?”


Speaking about the letter to the Secretary of State, Steve said:


“When I heard that the Planning Inspectorate had approved O2 and Vodafone’s application to build a 40 feet phone mast in Bournville, I was genuinely shocked.


“When I considered the significant level of local opposition, and the seemingly minimal impact this had on the eventual outcome, I rooted out the Coalition Government’s National Planning Policy Framework.


“Chapter 5, the section related to communications infrastructure, made not a single mention to public opposition to controversial developments such as these.


“I have therefore written to the Secretary of State to ask for his views on why the Government, apparently committed localists, do not take local opposition to telecommunications developments more seriously.


“I will update my constituents when I receive a reply.”

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