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"Local decisions are being taken away": CPRE Sussex on BBC

Thursday, 15 November 2012 08:11

15 November 2012

"We're concerned that if decisions are taken away from the local level then developers’ interests come first," said CPRE Sussex Director Georgia Wrighton on the BBC's Sunday Politics South East, commenting on the Government's Growth and Infrastructure Bill which back tracks on commitments to localism.

Appearing on the programme as part of a discussion on the bill's proposal to remove speed decision making by referring projects to the Secretary of State, Georgia Wrighton said: "I think our biggest concern is that local decisions are being taken away to central government and our members have been working very hard with local authorities to define what sustainable development is locally, and where environmental limits are.

"In terms of the government’s proposals we’re very concerned with the suggestion that speed is the same as quality – and for us that’s just not the case. We want to see well planned development in the right place – well designed, well located development that meets social needs and recognises environmental limits and we’re concerned that if decisions are taken away from the local level then economic growth and developers’ interests come first."

Responding to the BBC's Julia George's suggestion that some of the Bill's provisions – including the proposal to allow redesignation of greenfield sites in exchange for environmental concessions – were an imaginative response to a shortage of land suitable for development, Wright flagged up a recent report by the Local Government Association which identified 400,000 unimplemented planning applications in England and Wales.

"There are plenty sites that are still available for development," said Wrighton. "We want to see the Brownfield First policy reinstated. We feel there is no need to build on greenfield land at the moment."

The programme can be viewed online [retrieved 15 November 2012 available until 18 November 2012. Segment begins at 50'30"]


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