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Tell your MP if you want a say on development in your community

1st September 2020

Letter to the Editor, Bexhill Observer

Dear Editor

We wonder how  many  people are aware that the  Government issued  in early  August, please  note, proposals for the most radical reform  of  planning since formal planning  was introduced  in 1947.They are suggesting a change from  the system we are used  to where the local council, in our case  Rother,  decides  democratically  on  the details  of any planning application. Remember a recent  planning application on the eastern side  of Bexhill  generated  in excess  of  400  comments from members of  the public.

The Government  are proposing that the whole  of England be  divided  into three  planning areas: Growth areas, deemed  suitable  for  substantial  development, Renewal areas suitable  for development and areas that are Protected.This  division will  be formulated through a Local Plan where a planning  inspector will determine which  areas  are which. Thereafter if  anyone makes a planning  application in a Growth  area, it will be automatically adopted, without  any  scrutiny  of the actual details of what is being  proposed. In Renewal areas, it would be more or less the same, subject to the plans  meeting  certain design codes.  Only in the  Protected areas, would  the system  require  a formal  application.

This means that the  public’s say  in  planning  is  being drastically  reduced. The last  time Rother  created  a Local  Plan  back in 2014,  the only  public  participation at  the  Inquiry  was  by  one plucky Parish  Council  and  CPRE Sussex.

Do  you want to  continue  to have a say  on  how  your neighbourhood  will look  into the future? Or do you want the look  of  your community to be dictated by  house builders  and developers? If your answer is yes to the first and no to the second question, then let  your local  MPs, Huw Merriman  and Sally Ann Hart  know your views  as  soon  as possible.  Otherwise  the  development lobby will ensure you are shut  out  from  taking part  in the planning  process.  Do it now.

Yours faithfully

Stephen Hardy

Trustee, CPRE Sussex