Party Point – September 2013

John Clark writes…

First published: September 2013 – Gazette & Herald

There is a massive split in the planning policies of the ConDem government. On one side they have the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which says there is a ‘presumption in favour of development’. On the other is the Localism Act which states that ‘local people should decide’. On one side the emphasis is on growth and on the other appropriate development that is best for the local area as well as protecting our countryside and green belt. No wonder at the planning committee Councillor Cousins pressed the ‘wrong’ button.

The Tories and LibDems have to decide; do they support growth and development at any cost or do they support localism. This is the difference between letting developers build as and where they want or designing a Local Plan ,the LPS, and sticking to it.

Gladman Developers are driving a very large wedge between the two views of the ConDem government. This company is taking an aggressive approach throughout the country. Their approach is to apply for planning on the edge of villages and market towns. These applications are outside the development limits and usually contrary to old (saved) and new (emerging) Local Plans. Exactly what they are doing in Kirbymoorside.

In Ryedale, while the new Local Plan was being drawn up (LDF), the government introduced the NPPF in March 2012. Local councils had to take these policies into account. The emerging LDF had to be rewritten in the light of the newly imposed NPPF. From March 27th 2013, if a council did not have an adopted new Local Plan then they could only give weight to relevant policies in existing plans according to the degree of consistency with the NPPF. On the 27th March 2013 half of the English councils were planless. So in effect the ConDem government had given the go-ahead to the aggressive developers.

I have huge question marks round the planning processes at Ryedale District Council. I am very critical of the way the Kirbymoorside applications were handled. There was confusion caused at the meeting to consider the second Gladman application as constant references were made to the first application. It’s my belief that this was wrong – the first application had not been considered and should not have been mentioned during consideration of the second application. Many councillors abstained. Finding the ‘right’ button was not easy.

This said, other councils have fought the Gladman abuse. Other councils have fought Gladman at the planning committee stage and at Inspector appeals. The Secretary of State has even ‘called in’ one application. Ryedale Council Planning Committee appeared to either support Gladman or have no will to battle the case for Kirbymoorside.

Whatever is the reason for this surrendering, it shows no determination to campaign for the people of Ryedale. Some of us think at worst the process should have been done correctly or at best they should have tried to deliver the Ryedale Plan (LPS) for the people of Ryedale.

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