Council criticises government RSS contradiction

Posted on Wednesday 30th September 2009 at 8:18 am by SH (Editor)

South Gloucestershire Council’s Conservative planning chief has accused the Labour government of contradicting itself, following its admission of shortcomings in the way it has prepared its controversial planning blueprint for the region.

The Government has confirmed plans to carry out a new ‘Sustainability Appraisal’ after admitting flaws in how it has drawn up its latest draft of the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the South West.

Similar errors led to a successful legal challenge against the Regional Spatial Strategy in the East of England by Hertfordshire County Council.

However, the council has criticised the Government for contradicting itself by saying that the RSS has ‘considerable weight’, yet also admitting that the process they followed in preparing the RSS was flawed.

The news comes as Ministers face intense demands from the Council, the district-wide No Way To 33K campaign and local Green Belt campaign groups to go back to the drawing board on plans for 32,800 new houses in the district and a series of new ‘urban extensions’ to accommodate such a target, including on Green Belt land.

Cllr Brian Allinson, Conservative Cabinet Member for Planning, Transportation and Strategic Environment on South Gloucestershire Council said:

“It is becoming increasingly evident that Ministers are all over the place on how to progress their discredited Regional Spatial Strategy.

“Their latest announcement for a further sustainability appraisal calls into question the pressure that the Government is putting on the council to give considerable weight to the emerging RSS when dealing with new planning applications.

We are opposed to such pressure, which we believe is no longer tenable as the government themselves are saying that the process that they followed in preparing the RSS was flawed.”

He added:

“Ministers can do as many sustainability appraisals as they like, but we will not rest until they dramatically reduce their unsustainable 32,800 housing target and damaging urban extensions.”

The Government has said it expects the new Appraisal to be completed early in the New Year with a decision expected after soon after that.

Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council


Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.