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Change the rules: the public has no right to appeal a planning inspectors decision in favour of a property developer

Comment 6th July 2010

If the local council reject a property developer's planning decision for good local reasons such as it is inappropriate, highways, or out of character, and the developer appeals, the developer can choose not to have a public consultation (hearing) and it can be by written application only, which does not allow the planning inspector to hear from members of the public. This is at this stage already weighted in favour of the developer as more written applications are won by the developer as against those in a full public hearing. Further once the planning inspector has made the decision overruling the council there is no further right of appeal to members of the public to fight the decision. This is all very one sided in favour of the developer and very undemocratic. This system needs changing so that the presumption is not to allow development. If the matter goes to the secretary of state in the recent past the secretary of state has generally found in favour of development. Planning inspectors seem able also to set rules which change council planning guidance and rules, such as for reserve sites, now because of an inspectors decision all reserve sites have to be automatically released for development. Locally we have the situation where part of the next village is decreed as part of this village for planning rules by an inspectors decision. What is the difference? The next village has a rule of 5 and over houses requires one social housing dwelling, this village has a rule of 15 and over. So developers use this inspectors decision to not build social housing and build cul de sacs in what was someones back garden in the the part of the next village closest to this covered by that decision. All these things totally tie the hands of the decision making process of the local authority. No infrastructure implications are ever considered properly of more housing development, shops local services, bus provision, doctors, dentists, school places. Time and time again utilities and service providers hide up provision problems in their input to planning decisions as they are only looking to get more customers.

Why does this matter?

This idea is important because the current situation is totally undemocratic and removes power from the local authority to control the local environment and facilities for which it tries to represent its electorate.

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