Garth Harkness

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Saddleworth North Ward on Oldham Council Learn more

“Planning for the future” – A disaster my speech on the motion

by Garth Harkness on 9 September, 2020

The permitted development rights and changes to the planning system will be a disaster and we need to oppose them in the strongest possible terms

Yes the current system is not appropriate applicants can appeal but with residents , the only option to complain about procedural errors is through a judicial review which costs thousands of pounds.

I have had instances where applications I have wanted to go to the planning committee because of the sensitivities and have strong planning reasons have not done so with no good reason.

We have also made this worse this summer meaning local residents and councillors have less say on local decision making.

This is nothing however compared to the plans the Conservative government have for the planning system. Local residents and councillors will have no say on planning applications made

It looks like the end of the planning committee and planning be granted in principle according to vague national criteria. No local considerations . A dictatorship from the Conservative government

Protected land and green spaces will become massively at risk with little that local people can do. Development has an impact and Developers will largely be unchecked now and won’t be required to take any responsibility for the impact.

The loss of Section 106 means that financial contributions that would normally be made to mitigate losses in the community. So it will see lots more development, without the infrastructure, lack of affordable housing, loss of play areas or community facilities, loss of trees, loss of open space, traffic chaos and huge impacts on local residents.

We will see lowering of environmental standards and that is why there is opposition to this from the National Trust , RSPB and Wildlife TrustsThe presumption from the Conservative government is that the planning system is halting development.

This is not true and this motion addresses this fact. The planning system is flawed and an opportunity could have been to reform with a more localised approach, exploring affordable housing, social renting and green development. They broke a promise on supporting development of brownfield sites then throw a bit of the money back and suggest they are improving things.This proposal by government does nothing to address the key problems. It only exacerbates them enormously

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