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CPRE Wilts accuses government of planning powergrab

By lucyrouse
24th May 2022

Levelling Up Bill risks eroding democracy and enabling a power grab by central government

CPRE Wiltshire has written to all five Wiltshire MPs ahead of the second reading of the proposed Levelling Up Bill, set for 8 June, saying the Bill risks eroding democracy and enabling a power grab by central government.

In a detailed submission to MPs, CPRE Wilts argues that consultation and public involvement in planning decisions could be undermined by the proposed new National Development Management Policies.

In effect, this would mean national policies could override the wishes of local groups and their Neighbourhood Plans.

The letter also takes aim at proposed ‘Street Votes’ for planning decisions, saying: “This seems to encourage local street groups to become both judge and jury which is against the other parts of the planning system and would be in potential conflict with Neighbourhood Plans.”

The letter ends with several questions, about the status of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPFF), and whether this will become a statutory requirement, lack of mention of an Annual Housing target, lack of mention of climate in the Bill and the need for clear and strong Environmental Outcomes Reporting regulations if it is to be meaningful.

Anne Henshaw, chair of CPRE Wiltshire, said: “It is what the Bill does not say that is more important than what it does say. We are very concerned about the potential of the Levelling Up Bill to erode local democracy and await our MPs’ response to our detailed submission with interest.”

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