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Planning motion receives Bradford Council backing
Wharfedale and Craven ward councillors have gained cross-party backing from Bradford Council to voice concerns to the Government about planning reforms.
Independents Councillor Adrian Naylor (Craven) and Councillor Chris Greaves (Wharfedale) secured the backing of fellow district members for their resolution on national planning changes at a full council meeting last week.
The two councillors, both former Conservatives, warn-ed further relaxation of permitted development limits could have “catastrophic consequences”.
They argued planning laws were not a barrier to develop-ment in Bradford district. A 2011 council report showed more than 11,000 houses remained to be developed, despite already having planning permission.
The council agreed to note the concerns and instruct the chief executive to write to the Government.
Coun Greaves warned changes could remove local democratic accountability.
He said: “Every develop-ment proposal, whether it is for a conservatory, a brand new estate or a factory, is different, and must be scrutinised individually.”
He claimed the new rules for house extensions would “completely wipe out” the gardens of some modern estates.
“Permitted development is permitted precisely because the small scale means the neighbours won’t suffer loss of amenity,” said Coun Greaves.
“Permitting larger develop-ments without any scrutiny takes that protection away.”
He also spoke out about the national proposal to relax Section 106 requirements, which can be set by the planning authority, requiring a developer to provide affordable housing, recreation space or funding for public facilities as part of the planning application.
Coun Greaves told councillors of his concerns about the Government allowing the Planning Inspectorate to step in and determine local applications if the speed or quality of the decision-making was in question.
“That sums up the whole philosophy – the Big Society has become the Big Brother,” he added.
In its resolution, the local authority noted: “The council wishes to protect and enha-nce the quality of the built environment in Bradford district, and therefore resol-ves to oppose the Govern-ment’s proposals to extend development rights and remove affordable housing requirements.”
The motion was supported by most political groups on Bradford Council, except the Conservatives.
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