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Country News - 2002

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First shots in national planning row
Thurs 03 January

ONE OF this year's major countryside controversies - Government plans for a major shake-up in the way planning permissions are granted - came to the battlefield yesterday.

The Government has issued a Green Paper discussion document which promises the most fundamental changes in planning for 50 years. One of the proposals would take away planning consent from local councils for major projects - like airports and motorways - and give it to regional development agencies like Yorkshire Forward.

This has incensed many conservation groups, which believe that there should be more local consultation with local people rather than less.

So some of the heavyweights of the conservation sent delegates to a conference in London yesterday to demand "third party rights of appeal" against unpopular decisions.

They included the Council for the Protection of Rural England, the Civic Trust, Friends of the Earth, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the World Wildlife Fund - all bodies with vast experience in mounting protest campaigns.

"The Government is missing a crucial chance to right a fundamental wrong at the heart of the planning system by rejecting calls to give the public similar rights to developers to challenge planning decisions," CPRE Planning Officer Julie Stainton told the conference.
  • This story will run and run. Tomorrow, our countryside commentator John Sheard will take an in depth look into the implications.

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