Northumberland Labour’s shadow cabinet member for planning Allan Hepple says plans by the government to change Planning Development Rights (PDRs) will give a green light to developers to bypass the council’s planning system.
This policy will allow developers to turn shops, banks, restaurants, gyms, creches, into housing without consultation or agreement by local councils planning departments and no voice for local people or town and parish councils to have their say.
Planning Development Rights have been linked to an increase in inadequate housing in recent years and decisions will be made within 14 days.
Allan Hepple said: “To deny local people and councils a say in planning decisions in their communities is completely wrong.
“We could see developers deciding the future use of empty high street buildings, potentially damaging the fabric of our town centres.
“The lack of control by councils will not see the right homes in the right places are provided certainly not any much-needed affordable housing.
“A recent PDR development in Blyth gave a green light to turning a shop into a House in Multiple Occupation despite the vociferous protests of residents.
“Local people quite rightly complain to their local council about this but the council can do nothing because national government has ridden roughshod over local people’s wishes. They need to contact their MP and ask them how they voted on this issue.
“We’re appalled by this situation but, thanks to the total disregard of the Conservative government, we can do nothing because local councils’ powers have been taken away.
“Local people must have a say in how our towns are regenerated and what kind of housing is provided on high streets. This policy denies them that right.”
Northumberland Labour will be opposing these planning changes and campaigning for local people and businesses to develop their own vision for their towns.