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  • "I am particularly vexed that Mr Carmichael had the opportunity to ask the Planning Minister a question and he chose to promote his own misguided opinion of Neighbourhood Plans rather than stand up for the hundreds of his constituents who are currently battling inappropriate developments in his area.
    In fact, it would appear from the official report that he could not even ask the question he intended to ask correctly. The official record of Mr Carmichael's question to the Planning Minister implied that Neighbourhood Plans were actually in place in the 3 districts mentioned, along with 12 others around his constituency. This is not the case and I have written to Mr Carmichael to ask for an explanation.
    Neighbourhood Plans will not prevent inappropriate development in the areas they cover under the current National Planning Policy Framework. They have not been designated primacy over Local Plans in the decision hierarchy and have not held up under appeal by developers in the cases where they have been tested.
    This is a red herring and I am surprised that this paper has printed this article without checking what Mr Carmichael actually said, particularly as I had highlighted this to the Editor on Monday. I would have hoped that the SNJ would question him on the apparent inaccuracies of his statement and asked him for supporting information about the effectiveness of Neighbourhood Plans.
    The only thing that I can see stopping inappropriate developments in our area is for a tightening of the definition of sustainable development in the NPPF. I would suggest that, if proposed developments will have a significant impact on an area, the one at Mankley Fields for example will increase the housing provision in the Parish by nearly 30% in one go, they should be screened against key sustainability criteria before reaching the application stage. These criteria could include local and national population growth, local housing market conditions, affordable housing need, available employment in the area and infrastructure. It would be a very simple process to create a metric of these and score a development against that. If the development scores lower than a threshold it would not be considered.
    This would not prevent all development as smaller schemes would have less of an impact therefore score higher, it would however put paid to these get rich quick schemes that developers such as Gladman specialise in and which create the most damage.
    It does gall me that Mr Carmichael can receive this positive publicity in this paper when his voting in the past has helped to create the misery and uncertainty that is being felt by a considerable number of households in this area, through his blind support for his Government and their dysfunctional planning policy."
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Neil Carmichael praises Neighbourhood Plans during Parliamentary debate

Neil Carmichael praises Neighbourhood Plans during Parliamentary debate

Neil Carmichael praises Neighbourhood Plans during Parliamentary debate

First published in News
Last updated

STROUD MP Neil Carmichael this week praised the work of communities in Chalford, Dursley and Eastington in working towards compiling neighbourhood plans, during a debate in the House of Commons.

During questions to Nick Boles, Minister for Planning, Neil asked whether the Minister agreed that neighbourhood plans were an ‘appropriate protector against inappropriate developments’, with which the Minister concurred.

In July last year Neil held a seminar inviting town and parish councils to discuss developing a neighbourhood plan with key local planning consultants, and has been a champion of local communities having the ability to shape development in their areas.

Neil is currently supporting residents in Kings Stanley and Leonard Stanley, who are opposed to development at Mankley Field, and has noted the failure of Stroud District Council to implement a local plan which would protect such areas from developers.

Speaking following the debate, Neil Carmichael commented: “Neighbourhood plans are crucial in giving communities a strong voice to choose what, and where, development takes place within their area. “I am delighted that Chalford, Eastington and Dursley, among other communities, have taken the initiative, and hope that more will follow suit.

“Stroud District Council’s failure to prepare a local plan has opened the door to developers, but by adopting a neighbourhood plan communities can keep large-scale developments in unwanted areas at bay.”

Planning Minister Nick Boles will be visiting the Stroud constituency in April, to discuss development sites around the district.

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