Parties unite to slam government planning rule changes

The Labour Party.Councillors in South Gloucestershire have united to criticise the Coalition government’s recent changes to planning rules which water down developers’ obligations to provide much-needed affordable housing.

At a meeting of Full Council held on 17th October, Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors joined Labour members in slamming the Coalition for giving an unelected quango powers to override agreements with developers over the number of affordable housing units allocated to planning applications, and for abolishing planning permission for certain types of rear extensions.

The Council agreed to write to the government and local MPs outlining the council’s opposition to the plans.

Housing development is set to be a big political issue in South Gloucestershire as the area’s planning blueprint, called the Core Strategy, seems likely to set an ever-increasing target for new homes in the district. The Government Inspector overseeing the Strategy wants 28,355 built in South Gloucestershire by 2027; one of the ways this would be achieved is to allow piecemeal developments of up to 30 dwellings apiece in the Green Belt.

Labour leader Councillor Andy Perkins (Labour, Woodstock) said:

“I think it says a lot about the Coalition government’s proposals to relax certain planning rules that away from Westminster the concerns expressed by Labour are being echoed by Lib Dem and Conservative councillors.”

“Locally there is renewed threat to the Green Belt as the government inspector appointed to rule on the Council’s planning vision up to 2027 has said that he sees no problem with piecemeal developments of up to 30 dwellings at a time.”

“Unfortunately Lib Dem and Conservative councillors agreed last December to offer up a large section of our Green Belt land around Cribbs Causeway for development despite their election campaign promises to defend the Green Belt. I hope the Inspector will not take this as a signal to take more.”

Source: South Gloucestershire Labour

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