The Government is telling us, with simpering sincerity, it is up to local people to decide where housing development should go in their local area.
So why is it that local opinion is being ignored and large developments allowed, particularly on our green fields and open spaces?
Simply because the Government, through its Planning Inspectorate, is driving through a policy of increasing development.
In my local borough of the Ribble Valley a Local Plan is on the way to being completed. One of the elements to be included in the plan is the total number of houses to be built over a 20-year period from 2008 to 2028.
Recently the borough council decided to increase the number from 3,000 to 4,000. The reason given was because the Planning Inspectorate would not accept the lower number (the number which has been in place for some time and interestingly, not achieved) and would return the plan and keep doing so, until a number more suited to the Government’s requirements was included.
As part of the consultation on this change local opinion was “noted”, but ignored.
Irritatingly, more weight was given to the submissions of developers than local people, but it was the Government’s requirements that were behind the decision.
The constituents of the Ribble Valley voted for this Government in good faith but they find the Government is being disingenuous with its localism agenda.
More than that, it is being deceitful. If our valley is covered in all these houses the residents will remember who it was that promoted such destruction and how it was achieved.