Mar 21 2013 by Rob Pattinson, Ormskirk Advertiser
CONCERNS raised in a new report into changes to national planning policy have added to fears that West Lancs greenfield land is at the mercy of developers – at least until the Local Plan is signed off.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has analysed the issues arising during the first year the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework has been in force.
It claims the views of local communities across the country are being overruled, with major new developments being allowed to sprawl across countryside.
Labour Cllr Roger Bell said: “[It] is allowing developers to ride roughshod over local opinion. [West Lancs] planning committee has already been forced to allow housing developments in Banks, Rufford and Up Holland without allowing the normal approach to planning applications – completely ignoring the impact on the communities involved.”
Because the council cannot demonstrate a five-year housing supply until the Local Plan is signed off, greenfield land is effectively being exposed to being built on.
Conservative Cllr Paul Blane said: “The report highlights problems I have great sympathy with. Within my own ward of North Meols we have seen precious lands protected within the emerging Local Plan lost to large scale development because of the presumption of the NPPF to favour developers irrespective of the views of the community or grading of the land. It is my belief the Local Plan has been developed with the community and should hold more authority than the guidance of the NPPF.”