Neil Carmichael, Stroud MP: Stroud is a perfect place for localism to take root

Neil Carmichael, Stroud MP: Stroud is a perfect place for localism to take root

Neil Carmichael, Stroud MP: Stroud is a perfect place for localism to take root

First published in News by

Stroud’s Labour council’s failure to have a local plan in place has been ‘catastrophic in terms of paving the way for a developers’ charter’, says MP

I WAS delighted to be able to attend the launch of the Stroud Town Neighbourhood Plan.
The event took place in Lansdown Hall and as was very well attended; so much so, more seats were needed to accommodate the interested audience.
Stroud is fortunate to have so many capable and willing people to undertake a venture of such magnitude and potential.
Stroud is an obvious place for localism to take root and thrive.
With many ideas in the air, communities so rich in variety and a heritage glistening with modern meaning, empowering local people to make a difference is precisely what localism is all about. Of course, the process is at an early stage, and discussions about boundaries, scope, vision and content will continue, but a huge step forward has already taken place.
A steering group will be formed and further preliminary meetings will take place in August and September so watch out for events and other opportunities to get involved. My own early work to encourage thinking about the canal restoration and the consequential implications for development is part of the debate towards engaging residents in the shaping of the local environment.
One of my passions in politics is to create the capacity and atmosphere for genuine local decision making. In terms of planning, my vision is all about local councils and neighbourhoods taking responsibility for realising local aspirations and preferences. This is what neighbourhood planning is all about.
It is also why I am so disappointed with the performance of the Labour-led Stroud District Council. To fail to have a local plan in place has already been catastrophic in terms of paving the way for a ‘developers’ charter’. As one developer has noted, because there is no local plan, it is worth making speculative applications. This must be stopped.
The Labour-led administration has proffered a number of excuses for not having a plan, including “others haven’t got one” and “it’s too complicated”. Advice to help has been given; I hope the council leaders take this and rise to the challenge of delivering a meaningful and empowering planning framework.

Comments (3)

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12:27pm Sun 3 Aug 14

joyus1uk says...

Once again Mr Carmichael produces his all to familiar line about Stroud not having a Local Plan in place. Interesting line from him but lets look back at the history here. When the coalition took office (May 2010) they decided to rip up the existing planning laws and introduce the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). A complete about face in planning and what is required by loacl communities and councils. At the time Stroud district under a Tory administration was drawing up a strategic development plan. It was making progress. But the introduction of the NPPF forced the changes and the Tory administration scuttled out of office in 2012 without a local plan. Labour took office in cooperation with the Lib Dems and Greens and true to their manifesto reworked the Tory plan to fall in line with their aims and objectives endorsed by the voters through a democratic election. The NPPF is not a straight forward policy but through perseverance and consultation a plan has been drawn up by SDC. It is now going through the exhaustive process laid out in the NPPF and will be adopted in due course. The problem Stroud and many local authorities face is that whilst this process happens developers are striking deals with local land owners to get outline planning permission for green field sites that are not contained in local plans and are using high powered lawyers to force through their plans in planning appeal hearings and the High Court. Local planning officers and planning committees are holding their line about where they want development and what type but this democratic process is being circumvented by a Govt that wishes housing development at any cost and are also providing "pay back" to Tory party doners. Mr Carmichael attended a debate in Westminster Hall where Tory MP after Tory MP gave evidence to this and asked that the Govt bring in some form of moratorium whilst planning departments got their plans together and through the vetting process of the NPPF. Mr Carmichael as per usual was the only Tory MP to follow the Govt line and support the Minister in the debate. Nothing new there then. The minister has since moved on in the recent reshuffle and so we hope will Mr Carmichael come May 2015. To further highlight this problem with the NPPF I would simple direct readers to the case of Malmesbury, a leader in local planning one of the first to get its plan finished. It to is still being agreed and will go to a referendum in due course. Malmesbury is now facing 180 unwanted and unplanned for houses following a High court action by a developer. More details can be obtained via this link http://www.makingwil
tshirebetter.co.uk/w
est-filands.html Mr Carmichael is well aware of the problems caused by the NPPF and local plans but chooses to follow a line that goes against the democratic right of a community to choose. Perhaps he himself is to close to the developers that are now in charge of the planning process. He prefers to attack a council that has submitted a plan, the first in Gloucestershire, but says nothing about Tory led local councils that have not yet submitted theirs. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP in the Cotswolds has no such allusions as to the problems caused by the NPPF. Mr. Carmichael instead of lobbing in grenades from the sidelines perhaps you should use your position to get involved in the process, join in with local people, try to get a solution to the developments issues of Stroud through engagement and positive help. I would very much like to see an open debate in major community halls across the district to try to get a common solution to Strouds problems. ( Perhaps this august publication could facilitate such an event). Mr Carmichael you could also ask your developer mates to join in and take part.
Once again Mr Carmichael produces his all to familiar line about Stroud not having a Local Plan in place. Interesting line from him but lets look back at the history here. When the coalition took office (May 2010) they decided to rip up the existing planning laws and introduce the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). A complete about face in planning and what is required by loacl communities and councils. At the time Stroud district under a Tory administration was drawing up a strategic development plan. It was making progress. But the introduction of the NPPF forced the changes and the Tory administration scuttled out of office in 2012 without a local plan. Labour took office in cooperation with the Lib Dems and Greens and true to their manifesto reworked the Tory plan to fall in line with their aims and objectives endorsed by the voters through a democratic election. The NPPF is not a straight forward policy but through perseverance and consultation a plan has been drawn up by SDC. It is now going through the exhaustive process laid out in the NPPF and will be adopted in due course. The problem Stroud and many local authorities face is that whilst this process happens developers are striking deals with local land owners to get outline planning permission for green field sites that are not contained in local plans and are using high powered lawyers to force through their plans in planning appeal hearings and the High Court. Local planning officers and planning committees are holding their line about where they want development and what type but this democratic process is being circumvented by a Govt that wishes housing development at any cost and are also providing "pay back" to Tory party doners. Mr Carmichael attended a debate in Westminster Hall where Tory MP after Tory MP gave evidence to this and asked that the Govt bring in some form of moratorium whilst planning departments got their plans together and through the vetting process of the NPPF. Mr Carmichael as per usual was the only Tory MP to follow the Govt line and support the Minister in the debate. Nothing new there then. The minister has since moved on in the recent reshuffle and so we hope will Mr Carmichael come May 2015. To further highlight this problem with the NPPF I would simple direct readers to the case of Malmesbury, a leader in local planning one of the first to get its plan finished. It to is still being agreed and will go to a referendum in due course. Malmesbury is now facing 180 unwanted and unplanned for houses following a High court action by a developer. More details can be obtained via this link http://www.makingwil tshirebetter.co.uk/w est-filands.html Mr Carmichael is well aware of the problems caused by the NPPF and local plans but chooses to follow a line that goes against the democratic right of a community to choose. Perhaps he himself is to close to the developers that are now in charge of the planning process. He prefers to attack a council that has submitted a plan, the first in Gloucestershire, but says nothing about Tory led local councils that have not yet submitted theirs. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP in the Cotswolds has no such allusions as to the problems caused by the NPPF. Mr. Carmichael instead of lobbing in grenades from the sidelines perhaps you should use your position to get involved in the process, join in with local people, try to get a solution to the developments issues of Stroud through engagement and positive help. I would very much like to see an open debate in major community halls across the district to try to get a common solution to Strouds problems. ( Perhaps this august publication could facilitate such an event). Mr Carmichael you could also ask your developer mates to join in and take part. joyus1uk
  • Score: 4

8:56pm Sun 3 Aug 14

BigBoy22 says...

"Advice to help has been given"... sadly not by you Mr Carmichael. You have only slated SDC and purely because it is Labour-led. It is labour-led because that's what the people voted for and you're stuck with it whether you like it or not... just as we are stuck with you. Instead of knocking them constantly, perhaps you could try working with them for a change.
"Advice to help has been given"... sadly not by you Mr Carmichael. You have only slated SDC and purely because it is Labour-led. It is labour-led because that's what the people voted for and you're stuck with it whether you like it or not... just as we are stuck with you. Instead of knocking them constantly, perhaps you could try working with them for a change. BigBoy22
  • Score: 6

5:50pm Mon 4 Aug 14

Rock Cake says...

Erm...... Haven't seen him once in Stonehouse which he is meant to represent, so how does that even remotely tie-in with "localism"? Will not be missed when Drewy kicks him into touch next year.
Erm...... Haven't seen him once in Stonehouse which he is meant to represent, so how does that even remotely tie-in with "localism"? Will not be missed when Drewy kicks him into touch next year. Rock Cake
  • Score: 1

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