I become very worried when I hear the designated council representative of GBC talking about a preference for ‘strategic sites’ (i.e. the unfortunate villages that are going to get it in the neck when it comes to massive housing development in the borough in the next 5 years) because its easier for the borough to put its hand out to central government for infrastructure spending.
I thought that the concept of ‘localism’ espoused by this government and embodied in the Localism Act was to allow local communities to set out their own local plan within the framework provided by their local planning authority. Maybe this was a path to a bit of local democracy. I was wrong in so many ways.
Whatever this borough says about ‘consultation’ and ‘there is no plan’ and ‘they did not choose to invoke Section 9’ (i.e. go straight to a draft local plan without consultation), the way I’m hearing it, the consultation process is a very expensive charade. If the lead councillor for promoting the local plan thinks its better to have ‘strategic sites’ and acknowledges that the larger wards in the east of the borough are likely to have their special pleading listened to, then we are going to get planning by dictat from Millmead and it ain’t going to be Green Belt that washes over Normandy.