LETTER: Localism Bill is a sham

Greg Clark, who is masterminding the Coalition’s planning revolution, has been appearing in the press and on radio this week to argue a case for more development.

Thursday, 15th September 2011, 4:39 pm

He says he cannot think of a single example of a place where the residents don’t want any more housing.

Well here’s one to start him off. The village of Whalley in the rural Ribble Valley is under attack from developers who want to build 1,000 houses around the village, all on greenfield sites. Residents, almost to a man, are opposed to such development. This opposition is replicated in other parts of the Valley and indeed in hundreds of areas in the country at present. Clark’s statement does him no favours and for him to think the populous concurs with his view is an insult. It is obvious the measures are designed to kick-start the economy. The economy will eventually begin to grow without these measures but once the countryside is concreted over it will never come back. People are right to insist we preserve it for our future.

The so-called Localism Bill has been exposed as a sham which encourages “local” decisions on planning only if they are decisions in favour of more development. Did the nation vote for this? The Ribble Valley is a safe Tory seat, but I would remind Mr Clark that the Valley has punished previous Tory administrations by voting its MP out of office when it was faced with something which it felt to be unreasonable or against its wishes.

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