A new powerful alliance of Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Civic Voice and the National Association of Local Councils, called on all political parties to make a firm manifesto commitment to introduce a “community right of appeal” into the planning system.
The alliance believes that all political parties should support local aspirations by introducing a limited community right of appeal in areas where a development is non-compliant with a neighbourhood plan or local plan.
The call was made at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference where the three organisations have joined together with Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham, Martin Horwood MP, to hold a debate on the benefits of such a right.
Martin Horwood said: ‘'the introduction of a Community Right of Appeal could be triggered when a high threshold of community opposition was reached. Grounds for appeal could include insufficient infrastructure, non-compliance with government guidance and non-compliance with a local neighbourhood plan. We can all think of examples across Cheltenham when this right could have been used and there must be thousands across the Country.’
CPRE Chief Executive Shaun Spiers said: ‘CPRE has long called for appeal powers in the planning system to be rebalanced, as a counter to the bullying tactics often used by developers. The grounds on which developers can appeal should be restricted and a limited community right of appeal introduced. The vast majority of planning applications would be unaffected by such measures, but they would provide important safeguards to ensure communities can resist unsustainable development proposals.’
Freddie Gick, Chair of Civic Voice said “At present, the only recourse for the public against poor planning decisions is judicial review. A right of appeal would give local people a real opportunity to have a say and would rebalance the planning system and help deliver true localism”.
NALC Chairman, Cllr Ken Browse said “The voice of local people through the Town and Parish Council should always be at the heart of planning”.