Torys move to 'simplify' planning for big developers

Tony Gosling tony at
Fri Jul 29 02:30:40 BST 2011

Planning law threat to our green spaces
Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bristol Evening Post

BRISTOL's green spaces are under threat from an overhaul of planning 
laws, conservationists fear.

The Government has unveiled proposals to make the planning process 
more simple, slashing 1,000 pages of policy to just 52.

Claiming the current guidance contained more words than the entire 
works of Shakespeare, ministers insisted the "dramatic 
simplification" would include safeguards to protect the natural environment.

But the National Trust said it had "grave concerns" about the 
national planning policy framework, which includes a controversial 
"presumption in favour of sustainable development".

Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore said the issue of green belt land was 
"paramount" to whether the new policy would work.

In his submissions to ministers on the proposals, he wrote: "Whilst I 
agree that developers should work closely with those affected, I 
believe that the views of the community should have priority over 
that of developers."

The Tory MP said land in his constituency was the only green belt 
separating Bristol and Bath.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said the new system would 
"give local communities the power to protect green spaces that mean 
so much to them, while still giving the highest protection to our 
treasured landscapes".

"It will also ensure that development needed to grow the economy is 
carried out in a sustainable way," she added.
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