Since the disappointing news that the Hampton Lucy appeal was allowed, largely due to Stratford DC not being able to demonstrate a five year housing supply, I have been approached by many residents who have expressed their frustration over the planning process.
The recurring theme seems to focus on the NPPF and how a presumption in favor of development has given developers carte blanche over where, when and how they wish to build. Any brownfield and greenfield sites appear to be open for construction and where the planning authority may refuse permission, a vast majority of applications are being permitted at appeal.
To a large extent Councillors are being placed between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand we don’t want to see these sites being developed. Many are damaging to the locality and undesirable. But in planning terms, the legal basis for decision making, we have little solid reasoning to refuse. Where we do turn down planning applications typically these will be taken to appeal and given the go ahead by the Planning Inspectorate. A process that is very costly to defend and can end up with the Local Planning Authority picking up costs of both side. Money that could and should be spent elsewhere.
Stratford District Council have now submitted their Core Strategy, which will be assessed in public from 6th January 2015. We can also demonstrate a five year housing supply (according to numbers produced this week). This is a step in the right direction and once the plan is adopted will provide a sound and solid protection against the cavalier approach taken by corporate developers.
As a district we are doing all we can to help protect you against undesirable development and to improve on the area in which you live. You will no doubt have your thoughts on how best to protect the areas you live in and I would welcome your comments either through the comment section on this website or via email.