In Stroud News and Journal on the 6th March, Neil Carmichael praises neighbourhood plans as a means of protecting local communities from unsuitable development. However, protestors across Stroud District are desperately trying to fight off inappropriate, predatory development schemes that are taking advantage of opportunities he and his fellow Tories have created.
SDC cllr Martin Whiteside said: “The coalition government’s new rules on planning – the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) – are handing over our much loved green fields, beauty spots and recreation spaces to rampant property speculators, who are developing these jewels to increase their profits, rather than re-developing vacant brownfield sites. Sadly, instead of admitting this and helping local communities and the District Council to challenge the destruction of our countryside, our local MP has tried to create a smokescreen by telling local communities that their much loved fields will be saved if they develop a neighbourhood plan. However, Neil Carmichael is misleading his constituents, as the rules drafted by his own Minister, Eric Pickles, make it clear that a neighbourhood plan is not sufficient to prevent a much loved green field being bulldozed and concreted. Now our MP has gone a step further and seems to have mislead parliament vastly overstating the number of neighbourhood plans in his constituency.”
Mankley Field protestor and SDC candidate Nicola Hillary said: “When Neil Carmichael asked Nick Boles a direct question about planning last Monday, why didn’t he ask for enough time to be given for councils around the country to get local plans in place? In the meantime green-field, unstrategic, unsustainable sites are not protected from development, for many months ahead.”
Green cllr and European candidate Molly Scott Cato said: “Sorry Neil, the time has come when you need to be honest about the devastation your government is wreaking on our beautiful area. We need affordable, energy efficient homes built in sensible locations, decided by elected councillors, not decided by developer profit or unelected planning inspectors.”