Labour Councillors claim they are building Thousands of new houses because of 'government guidelines'. This is simply not the case. All local planning decisions are made by local Councillors. The reality is that strict planning guidelines still apply - and any decisions for small or large planning application are made by elected Councillors. The shaping Places document is becoming a stand up joke. Unless parish Councils are listened to - what is the point!?
There is no proven 'need' for the scale of housing proposed throughout numerous sites in the borough. From waters upton, Tibberton, Wellington to Muxton overdevelopment is rife. Indeed, surveys in numerous Parish Council areas have identified a very limited need. Nothing from these surveys indicates the demand the borough council suggest.
If the Council pushes ahead with their ill thought through plans, then there is likely to be a schools places crisis. Meaning families are pulled apart and children have to travel to school over longer distances. This is not fair to pupils, parents, or local teachers who do such a great job - along with heads and school governors.
The planning minister has made it abundantly clear that green field sites are not the preferred option for development. The borough council need to build on existing planning permissions and only on brownfield sites. There is no reason for development on green field sites when so many brownfield sites are available.
The council say it has no legal redress. That is patently not accurate. By contrast, Neighbouring Shropshire council have challenged several large planning applications through the Appeals and legal process - and have been successful. The borough council need to take a similar robust approach for those planning applications that are clearly too large and in the wrong locations. They should stop rolling over to developers!
WHO MAKES DECISIONS?
The borough council want to pass the buck. But as the local planning authority, and decision maker on all housing applications, the buck stops with them. The borough's leadership need to take personal responsibility for bulldozing over greenfields. They need to listen to local communities. Their environmental and community carnage has to stop!
This article was printed in the Telford Journal June '14