Welwyn Hatfield MP praises new local planning policy that gives power to the people

A NEW piece of Government legislation aims to put planning powers into the hands of local people.

The Coalition’s Localism Bill has been hailed by Welwyn Hatfield MP and housing minister Grant Shapps as “taking power from Westminster and giving it to local communities like Welwyn Hatfield”.

The move could stop big developers pushing through proposals against the wishes of Welwyn Hatfield residents after appealing to the Planning Inspectorate.

He told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “The previous Government said we had to build 10,000 to 15,000 homes in Welwyn Hatfield.

“The changes we’ve made in the Localism Bill makes it that it’s up to local communities, and we think that is absolutely right.

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“Councils will be able to manage their budgets more, although there are budget cuts, and the local authority will decide how it wants the area to develop by chatting to local people.”

He added: “At the moment all of that can be overturned by the Planning Inspectorate, operating out of Bristol, which can second guess whether the right things are being done.

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“These decisions should be local decisions, there is no reason why these things should go elsewhere.”

Mr Shapps also said the new Bill would also put a stop to people occupying land unlawfully and then applying for retrospective planning permission, which means they cannot then be moved on.

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