Planning Inspectorate: local opposition to development is not the “determinative factor” in planning decisions

Steve has received a letter from the Government’s Planning Inspectorate which states that local opposition to development is not the “determinative factor” when making planning decisions

 

The above statement from the Planning Inspectorate followed a letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government from Steve; who raised concerns about the decision to allow developers to build an 11.8 metre high telecommunications mast in the heart of leafy Bournville.

 

In his letter, Steve asked the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP what weight the Planning Inspectorate attached to the level of local opposition when deciding on planning applications.

 

Responding, the Planning Inspectorate, not the Secretary of State, stated that the number of parties against a proposal is not “the determinative factor and this principle has remained unchanged despite the Government’s recent reforms to the planning system”.

 

Steve also raised concerns about the proximity of the approved phone mast to sensitive locations such as the Bournville Conservation Area and Rowheath playing fields.

 

Steve said:

 

“I wrote to the Secretary of State as I felt that the Planning Inspectorate did not fully consider the level of local opposition in Bournville when agreeing to the proposal to build this unpopular phone mast.

 

“In that reply, the Planning Inspectorate rebuffed my argument by stating that the ‘technical planning argument’, rather than the level of local opposition, is the determinative factor when ruling on planning applications.

 

“The reply from the Planning Inspectorate arrived in my office the same day the Prime Minister announced a serious curtailment of the right of communities up and down the country to oppose unwanted developments.

 

“Development should not come at any cost and developers must prove that their schemes will be beneficial to the local community and have local support. If David Cameron’s proposed changes to planning law go ahead; communities will find it more arduous and more costly to challenge decisions.

 

“David Cameron should think twice about these changes and make good on his localism promise.

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