The Government's attempts to reform the planning system and to do away with the decades of complex national bureaucracy are something which I think most people will welcome. However, the current proposals go too far in terms of simplifying the guidance and risk leaving a planning free for all.
For example, the new national planning framework includes a 'presumption in favour of sustainable development', but fails to define what sustainable development means.
In recent months we have already seen attempts to allocate large areas of York's draft green belt for housing development thanks to the Labour Cabinet's increased housing targets. This precedent, combined with pro development national guidance, could lead to a great deal of pressure being put on green belt land all across the city as developers seek to exploit the uncertainty.
The consultation on the Government's proposals ends next week. There has already been a great deal of opposition to the plans and thankfully the Government have indicated they are willing to listen and make changes. I would urge local people to have their say on the new planning rules and ensure that York's communities are able to protect their local areas from unsuitable developments.
Councillor Keith Aspden
Liberal Democrat Councillor for Fulford
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