Planning is a matter for local councils and your councillors are the ones who will make the decision whether to approve or turn down applications but, quite reasonably, people also turn to their MPs, when a particularly contentious application is submitted; such is the case with proposals for Top Field in Barton.
I have received scores of objections from local residents; understandably so as the development is clearly not suitable for the site, at least in its present form. It’s important when framing objections that it must be based on ‘material planning considerations.’ What is or isn’t such a consideration can be found on many websites such as http://www.rtpi.org.uk/media/686895/Material-Planning-Considerations.pdf
As much as we all value ‘the view’ and want to maintain the value of our house but these are not relevant when applications are determined.
The Top Field development is unsuitable for a number of reasons; in particular access. As the Member of Parliament I pass on all representations I receive to the local authority and lobby them but they are the decision makers. It’s one of the most important representative roles that councillors have and one that can have a major impact on shaping the local area. I spent many years as a councillor and use to enjoy dealing with planning matters; it’s a real opportunity to get involved with the local community.
It’s one of the anomalies of planning legislation that applicants have the right of appeal but objectors don’t. Last year I introduced a 10 Minute Rule Bill into the House of Commons that would have given objectors this right in certain circumstances. I recognise that the system would very quickly grind to a halt if you could appeal every decision to extend a garage or add a conservatory but criteria could be set that preclude these sort of proposals. For example for major developments of say 100 dwellings or more or when the town or parish council has objected.
10 Minute Rule Bills are a way of highlighting an issue and starting a debate about an issue, they rarely become law. That said it can serve to raise an issue up the political agenda and its one that has considerable support in Parliament, though governments of all colours have refused to consider it. I can see why since appeals cause delays and for business developments that can be a major problem but I’m sure it’s possible to create a system that can deal quickly with applications and ensure that all sides have the opportunity of putting their case and that deliver speedy decisions.
I’ll keep pressing the case.