Michael Fabricant is "extremely worried" about new laws coming into effect
which will transfer powers over planning from local councils to regional
bureaucrats. "With, it sometimes seems, every available green site being
built over in Lichfield and other cities and towns, this new law will take
still more powers away from the local council and allow controversial new
developments to be constructed regardless of the wishes of local people."
The Government announced on 17 June the timetable for the implementation of
the new Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act. The legislation will transfer
planning powers to the West Midlands regional assembly allowing it to
create a ‘Regional Spatial Strategy’ for housebuilding, transport and
planning that will be binding on local councils. Meanwhile the
Staffordshire Structure Plan will be scrapped.
"Despite the fact that there is near unanimity in Staffordshire that we
don’t want to be governed from Birmingham by a costly regional Parliament,
John Prescott just doesn’t seem to listen. He seems determined to ride
roughshod over local government at every opportunity. Local councillors
are answerable to local people via the ballot box, and transferring
responsibility to distant and unaccountable regional bureaucrats is just
undemocratic and bad for local planning. Already, Lichfield is being forced
to build too many dense areas of housing because of Government diktats.
This will just make matters worse.
"Regional planning is too distant ever to be properly accountable and
legitimate. Conservatives would scrap these unnecessary and expensive tiers
of bureaucracy and hand the powers back to local communities. Otherwise,
the leafy lanes of Lichfield will lose their character for ever" Michael