The following letter has been sent to Damian Green, Member of Parliament for Ashford, regarding the recent Planning For The Future Planning White Paper.
Dear Damian Green
Re: Impacts of proposed Government planning reform on the value of neighbourhood plans
I am writing on behalf of Tenterden and District Residents’ Association (TDRA) to express my concerns about the proposals within the government’s Planning White Paper.
We are concerned that the White Paper consultation document on planning reform will likely lead to a slimmed down scope for neighbourhood plans. We feel that this means there will be less opportunity for our community to shape and have our say on local planning matters.
Neighbourhood planning has been one of the most transformative community powers introduced through the 2011 Localism Act. Not only do neighbourhood plans involve a local referendum, they are accompanied by significant community engagement and have statutory weighting within the development plan framework. They help shape places at the local level and bring forward development that the local community want to see. They do this through a range of mechanisms such as: allocating sites for development (.e.g. for housing); and including policies on a range of themes such as design, the economy, and environment, to help deliver sustainable development.
While there are a number of unknown factors within the White Paper, our interpretation is that these proposals could have the following implications for neighbourhood plans:
These proposals have the potential to reduce the value of neighbourhood plan making and to lead to poorer quality places for us. In our community this will mean the following issues:
We would like you to raise our concerns with The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and raise questions in Parliament to request clarity about the implications on neighbourhood planning and reassurance that their current scope will be maintained.
This is essential so that neighbourhood plans can continue to have enough breadth to pack the punch they need to transform places for the better. Otherwise there is the risk that all the hard work of communities like ours will be undermined.
I look forward to hearing from you.
TDRA Planning Secretary