Conservative councillors on South Gloucestershire Council have welcomed the pledge by the new Coalition government to ‘rapidly’ scrap the previous Labour Government’s controversial Regional Spatial Strategies.
The pledge was contained in the Coalition’s ‘Our Programme for Government’ document published on Thursday 20th May.
The South West Regional Spatial Strategy (SWRSS) had proposed huge new urban extensions in order to accommodate 32,800 new houses in South Gloucestershire – plans that caused uproar amongst residents and councillors.
Last year, South Gloucestershire’s Conservative councillors submitted a Sustainable Communities Act proposal to abolish regional planning, including the government’s RSS. But Labour Ministers simply sat on the proposal and took no action.
Efforts to scrap the RSS have been made in an effort to discourage speculative planning applications, in areas such as Chipping Sodbury and Oldland Common.
Cllr Brian Allinson, Conservative Cabinet Member for Planning, Transportation and Strategic Environment on South Gloucestershire Council, welcomed today’s news:
“I am delighted with this hugely significant announcement.
Through the No Way To 33K campaign, South Gloucestershire Conservatives have led the campaign locally to scrap Labour’s RSS, including using the Sustainable Communities Act.
Before the election, we had the Shadow Minister for Housing, Grant Shapps MP, tell us that the Conservatives would scrap Labour’s Regional Spatial Strategies if they formed the next government.
I am delighted that he has become the new Housing Minister and that this important Conservative pledge has made it through the new Coalition’s policy negotiations.
It has been the continuing existence of Labour’s Regional Spatial Strategy that has convinced developers that they can build wherever they like, much to the understandable consternation of local residents.
Now we stand a much better chance of defeating developers and their unsustainable planning applications in other areas of the district, but the timing of the RSS’ abolition will be critical.
We know though that developers will be ready to unleash their army of highly paid lawyers to make the new government’s job as difficult as possible because there are vast amounts of money at stake.”
Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council