Power to block inappropriate Development

Our Town Council, backed by the local Partnership and with massive support from residents, attempted to influence the siting of a new development of 160 houses in the town at every stage of the Local Development Framework. The District Council, situated 20 miles away, have permitted the development on a site, believed by those who will have to live with the results of the decision as wholly inappropriate, largely on the basis that the owner wanted to sell and the owner of the land deemed most suitable did not. The Localism Act allows Parish Councils and/or groups of residents to instigate developments but it does not allow ANY means whereby unsuitable developments can be resisted if not blocked.
It is a power that is badly needed.

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8 thoughts on “Power to block inappropriate Development

  1. I agree that this power is most desperately needed. If one accepts that the council closest physically to the site in question, and the people who will be affected by it is likely to be the best informed as to the needs of the community in question, then it is surely the role of that council to reject the imposition of planning permission that will have a negative effect on that community. The feeling of helplessness and anger that such imposition engenders in both the council and the community, makes a nonsense of any promises about truly local free decision making.

  2. the problem with giving those closest to a proposed project the power to block or reject it is, how do you ensure an objective view. i serve on a parish council, at present the only power we have on planning is to comment on applications, but listening to my fellow councillors (and trying not to listen to myself) there is a terrible tendency to resist change for its own sake. i accept that the present system seems to be seriously flawed with district councils taking decisions without clear objective reasoning, but i can’t see this proposal as the solution.

  3. I tend to agree with “o’hare” on this one. Local (town and parish) councils need to demonstrate a lot more credibility before they are given the powers of a planning authority – there’s too much risk that the NIMBY mentality takes over and no strategic perspective is applied. I wouldn’t argue that a district council with offices 20 miles away isn’t ‘localist’ enough to be able to judge the merits and impact of a development.

    Let the parish council have its say during the consultation stage, but I’m not sure it’s impartial enough to determine the application.

  4. If we believe in democracy, there needs to be more local influence on planning decisions. There is a tendency by some to wave off the views of ordinary people as “unqualified” or “insufficiently responsible” etc. – the dictatorial view. The simple truth is that the only way to learn responsibility is to be given responsibility, and that means allowing a democratic say. It is also true that mistakes will be made during that learning process. But mistakes are being made now, so that is not much of an argument! I also believe that if planners and applicants know that the opinions of those at the receiving end will have weight, then they will be more likely to consider them at the start of the process, rather than simply ignoring them. In short, I agree with the principle, though the practice needs to be qualified by reason.

  5. Our District Council usually concurs with the comments from the Town Council and, on the rare occasions when opinions differ, I would prefer the Town Council to have the right to appeal in the same way as an applicant has. This would stop any nimbyism and allow an independent inspector to investigate both sides of an argument.

    • I would support the idea of local (town and parish) councils having a legal right of appeal, but probably with the proviso that they meet the costs of the appeal should it be lost (to stop automatic appeals being submitted every time it doesn’t get its way).

  6. The term “inappropriate” is too wide in scope. There should be a power to block an application which receives a substantial number of objections from the immediate community. So perhaps it should be a power to block an application which will have an adverse effect on the community and categorise those as environmental/social/health/transport/visual impacts.

  7. I live in the county of North Yorkshire. We have been fighting an incinerator which if built will scar the landscape for around 20 miles. This is some of the most beautiful scenery in the county. North Yorkshire County Council have taken absolutely no notice of the local Parishes or Town Councils and have given planning permission to build. we are now hoping that the Minster will call the plans in. How is this localism when a County Council can steamroller an incinerator through against the local opinion. This is not democracy it is autocracy at it’s worse.

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