Public consent for local plans – Steve Baker MP
A debate on planning policy and the effects of the NPPF took place on 9th July 2014 in Westminster Hall.
The debate was chaired by Clive Betts ( L. Sheffield SE) and was answered by Planning Minister Nick Boles (C. Grantham). The following MPs took part:
Steven Baker (C. Wycombe), Guy Opperman (C. Hexham), Caroline Nokes (C.Romsey) Bob Russell (LD Colchester), Damien Hinds (C. East Hampshire) Julian Sturdy (C. York Outer), Neil Carmichael (C. Stroud), Mark Menzies (C.Fylde), Andrew Bingham (C. High Peak), Laurence Robertson (C. Tewkesbury), Martin Horwood (LD Cheltenham), Anne-Marie Morris (C. Newton Abbot), Chris White (C. Warwick and Leamington Spa), Rebecca Harris (C. Castle Point), Andrew Turner (C. Isle of Wight), Jason McCartney (C. Colne Valley), Nick Herbert (C. Arundel & South Downs), William McCrea (DUP Antrim) and Roberta Blackman-Woods (L. Durham).
Although MP after MP presented a case for some reform of the current system and made it clear that they and their constituents felt that the NPPF was not working properly or as intended by the Localism Act, the Minister made it clear that he was not prepared to amend or reduce the power of the Inspectorate or the Developer Lobby. Those MPs who spoke, principally but not wholly from rural districts, made it clear that the effects in their constituencies were often perverse.
Mrs Blackman-Woods summarised the comments very fairly. Mr Boles believes that matters will be worse under a Labour Government and feels that he is representing all those people who aspire to live in a district but don’t do so. He intends to vote Conservative at the next election!
The debate makes interesting reading and many of the complaints made by this assortment of MPs, who are to be congratulated for the persistence with which they are attacking this issue, will be familiar to our members. Those of us whose members didn’t participate might wish to ask why?