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Letter: It Is the Government That Is Responsible for Planning Law

Published on: 18 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 18 Jun, 2020

The Wanborough field, as it was in 2017, in which the development was proposed.

From Liz Hogger

Lib Dem borough councillor for Effingham

In response to: Wanborough Residents Lobby GBC Over Tree Nursery Threat to Green Belt 

I’m sure Wanborough residents will be pleased that GBC’s Planning Committee refused the application [for a tree nursery in fields in the Wanborough] landscape last night, on the grounds of its harm to the setting of the AONB and to the character of the AGLV.

In spite of all our reservations about the recently adopted Local Plan, in fact, policy P1 was vital to enable us to put forward good planning policy reasons for refusal.

The real culprit for making planning decisions hard is the government’s NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) which lays down the law on planning that GBC has to follow.

For example, the NPPF now says (para 146) that buildings in the green belt can be re-used providing they are of permanent and substantial construction. It seems there’s no longer a requirement to show that agricultural buildings are not needed for agriculture.

So the process can be: put in a reasonable application for a barn, then a few years later simply apply to turn it into a residence. There have been two examples in my own green belt ward where this has happened, and there is nothing the planners can do about it.

We do need to direct concerns about planning law at the government – they are the ones who make the law that we on the Planning Committee must struggle to follow, not GBC’s planners.

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test One Response to Letter: It Is the Government That Is Responsible for Planning Law

  1. Lisa Wright Reply

    June 19, 2020 at 6:58 am

    I am delighted the Wanborough Planning Application was refused.

    However, GBC is clearly displaying double standards and it is unbelievable that those policies were not applied to the proposed Blackwell Farm development when deciding the Local Plan.

    The same government policy protecting the AONB and AGLV should have been applied to Blackwell Farm, additionally, the policies that protect:
    – The best and most versatile agricultural land;
    – Preservation of historical features;
    – Protection of ancient woodland;
    – Flood risk;
    – Protection against the Increase in air pollution;
    – All the protected species and wildlife policies;
    – Protection of local jobs;
    – Urban sprawl and all the others that apply.

    Many of these policies can also be applied to other sites, Wisley, Gosden, Slyfield, Garlick’s Arch and most of the LP land submissions.

    If government planning policy is so strong and reliable why was it completely ignored during the Local Plan formation and why is it now only being applied to the odd site when it suits GBC?

    From what I’ve seen over the last 6/7 years, GBC bends the rules when it suits.

    I look forward to seeing the full planning applications for these sites and watching the officers and councillors apply all of those applicable NPPF policies to the Local Plan sites.

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