Roger Hepher’s suggestion that the government’s proposals for validating more neighbourhood plans could “stifle housebuilding” is a fair warning to the sector.
More distinction needs to be made between good neighbourhood plans that deliver and those hijacked by Nimbys or some misguided parish councillors. Good plans work, but there is no screening of those handed the powers to write them.
Many are retired, bored and set in their ways and are unlikely to take advice from some polite young planning officer trying to help (I have seen that first-hand).
Overall, why is the emphasis on parish councillors? Why not business forums or school governors? In rural parts, parish councillors are great for ‘footpaths and fetes’ but are not always respected, nor representative of the local viewpoint. Maybe the government should look at how plans are drawn up before they look at moving the bar for land supply.
Seona Lightfoot, owner, Mitchelswood Sport & Leisure