Fear of urban sprawl’ under planning moves

PUBLISHED: 11:13 15 February 2007 | UPDATED: 14:59 12 May 2010

A GROUP striving to make the community a better place has written to Chancellor Gordon Brown amid concerns that local democracy will get bypassed in the future. The Buntingford Civic Society is campaigning against recommendations in the recent Barker Revi

A GROUP striving to make the community a better place has written to Chancellor Gordon Brown amid concerns that local democracy will get bypassed in the future.

The Buntingford Civic Society is campaigning against recommendations in the recent Barker Review of Land Planning, which wants to reform the UK's planning process.

The group is concerned the current planning process will become centralised and communities will lose the power to have involvement in vital local planning decisions.

Society chairman Derek Cooper said: "If decisions are taken out of the hands of local authorities it means local voices will be unheard and large influential businesses will prevail.

"Hertfordshire is under a threat which, in my opinion, it has never faced before."

North East Herts MP Oliver Heald said: "There are three proposals in the Barker Review which are disastrous.

They are:

- Letting regional assemblies review the green belt when they should be dealt with by local councils

- They want a planning commission stuffed full of bureaucrats, taking away power from county councils

- To remove controls on out of town developments which could lead to the death of high streets

"The proposals could lead to urban sprawl," said Mr Heald. "We're facing a Gatwick at Luton, Heathrow at Stansted and chipping away of the green belt, which is unacceptable and must be fought here."

Mr Heald will be signing an Early Day Motion in the Commons to support the motion condemning these problems.

- For more information visit www.civictrust.org or to write to Gordon Brown visit www.planningdisaster.co.uk

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