Monday, 23 November 2020

‘Reducing democracy’

A CAMPAIGN group has criticised the Government’s plans to streamline the planning process and accelerate the construction of new homes.

The Open Spaces Society, which is based in Bell Street, Henley, says the changes proposed in the White Paper, Planning for the Future, would put open spaces and paths at risk.

Nicola Hodgson, a case officer, said: “These devastating proposals put at risk the thousands of small open spaces close to communities at the very time that people are discovering how much they need them.

“The Government pledged, in its 25-year environment plan, to leave the environment in a better state than it found it to pass on to the next generation. The proposals to destroy our planning system show what an empty promise that was.”

Under the proposed reforms, consultation could be restricted to when a planning authority, such as South Oxfordshire District Council, formulates its local plan.

This would mean residents could no longer comment on individual planning applications, which the society believes would “drastically reduce local democracy”.

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