STROUD Town Council will join its counterparts at district level in protesting against the Government’s changes to planning guidelines.

Both the town council and the district council have vented their opposition to the Coalition’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which came into effect last year.

The new policy guide has reduced thousands of pages of planning guidance to around 50 and has been branded a ‘developers’ charter’ by its critics.

Now STC is writing to Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, to express its concerns over the new guidelines.

It follows a letter to all councils from SDC’s Labour leader Geoff Wheeler.

The district council is backing a petition against the NPPF, calling it “unjustly prejudiced in the interest of the construction industry and developers to the detriment of the . . . local community”.

The town council agreed unanimously to back SDC’s petition and write to Mr Pickles at a meeting on Monday, January 20.

Cllr Steven Naumann said: “It’s frightening that we as elected councillors now have so little power to represent our community against the floodgates of developments that will open.”

Fellow town councillor Simon Arundel said Stroud was already seeing the effects of the new guidelines with applications for development at sites such as Baxter’s Field.

He also said Neighbourhood Plans were of little use to communities seeking to ward off speculative applications for development.

“The solution to the problem of constant assaults on our finest landscapes lies with Government and the NPPF,” he said.

“Neighbourhood planning by parish councils is just an expensive duplication of the work being completed by full time professionals in the local planning authority.

“That such a plan is not the last word even if approved in a referendum means they are a costly distraction.”