Fears over relaxed planning rules
NEW Government plans to "streamline" the planning system are already under fierce attack from countryside and conservation bodies even though they were only published yesterday (May 21).
Some of the new proposals had been widely leaked and suggested that a new planning commission is to be created that will allow the Government to push through radical proposals for huge new developments like atomic power stations and airports without local residents being allowed to object.
It is also feared that the rules will be eased to allow the massive supermarket chains to build even more stores on the outskirts of towns, putting High Street retailers at risk, which would appear to be in total contradiction to previously announced policies designed to protect local shops.
This is already a subject of major concern in rural areas like the Yorkshire Dales, where market town retailers are already fighting for survival.
Although planning minister Ruth Kelly denies this, saying that the new system will in fact give local people more power to object, a formidable coalition of rural bodies has been created to fight the proposals.
They include the Campaign to Protect Rural England; the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; Friends of the Earth; the Civic Trust; the Ramblers' Association; the Wildlife Trusts; the Woodland Trust and the National Trust.