Cllr Mick Stanley Leader of North warwickshire Borough Council has written the following newsppaer column:
On Monday night North Warwickshire’s Labour controlled council rejected two planning applications in the village of Newton Regis to build 9 houses PAP/2013/0231 and 19 houses PAP/2013/0402. And councillors have condemned new government planning laws, which aim to force them to grant planning consent to developers. The government wants to encourage house building in order to boost the economy before the general election. A new website has been launched to try to save Newton Regis from the developers.
This application is important because Newton Regis is “middle England”. In the centre of the country, it is a typical idyllic English rural village with a duck pond a church and a pub. These were not big applications for hundreds of houses, as are happening elsewhere, but they would have fundamentally changed the village
Cllr Mick Stanley, Leader of North Warwickshire Council said,
“We have supported the views of local people by rejecting these two applications. We believe these were bad applications.
“But this not the end of it. The applicants are likely to appeal. We need the active support of local people to win the appeal and also to change a terrible planning law.
“The government’s new ‘National Planning Policy Framework’, the NPPF, aims to encourage housing developments by making it very difficult for a council to reject a housing application. The applicant can appeal. We have taken a stand on these applications. But government planning policies take away the rights of local people to make decisions on housing because essentially the minister is telling us we must approve housing or take the consequences, even when we believe it’s a bad application.
“As councillors we reject what the government is doing. It is undermining local democracy and forcing housing where it is not needed and contrary to our local plan. And we are appalled that the current Conservative MP voted to make this shameful law. We have supported Newton Regis people and we ask for people to support our stand on this. “
Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate Mike O’Brien QC wrote to the council some weeks ago opposing the Newton Regis applications and he opposes the NPPF.
Mike said, “The NPPF is an attack by the government on middle England. It tries to force housing development on small villages against the wishes of both the local council and local people. The stand the council is making is therefore very difficult. There are expected to be appeals and the developers could try to win the appeals by using the NPPF.
““I have launched a website us fight the Newton Regis appeal if the Local Plan is approved.at http://www.savenewtonregis.co.uk/ and people can also sign our petition against the government’s National Planning Policy Framework.
“Nobody in this area wanted these applications granted. There are other developers waiting to take advantage of the NPPF by making further applications for housing developments across this borough. Other applications are going to come forward unless the council makes clear its position. The council supports some housing in North Warwickshire, but not just anywhere developers choose."