A LABOUR councillor has demanded the unitary authority object to a government proposal to “deregulate planning” law on future large developments in the county.

Cllr Robin Stuchbury called on Buckinghamshire Council to oppose “growth and development” in the county directed by central government, in a video message published on Twitter, on Saturday, September 5.

His stance relates to the “Planning for the Future” White Paper, which outlines reforms to “streamline and modernise the planning process”.

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It is also to “ensure more land is available for development where it is needed”.

However, critics of the scheme say it may lead to “bad-quality housing” and diminished local influence, according to the BBC.

Local people will have a “meaningful say” when planning processes begin, according to housing secretary Robert Jenrick, but not to block schemes thereafter.

A consultation on reform of the planning system closes on October 29.

Bucks Free Press:

Cllr Stuchbury plans to raise the issue during a webcast cabinet meeting, on Tuesday, September 8.

He has been continuously vocal on the matter, broadcasting his views on Facebook and during a BBC Three Counties Radio interview.

“The government now has said it wants to choose areas and zones of development, on the basis of economic growth,” said Cllr Stuchbury. “The other thing they’re saying, is they want all these decisions to be done within three months – all major legal agreements in 13 weeks.

“Historically, councils haven’t been great at getting the best out of deals for the public in Section 106 Agreements.

“But, surely, the government should leave us alone? We’ve had HS2, the Expressway coming through, and they’ve already premised building a million houses between Cambridge and Oxford – the idea the government knows better about Buckinghamshire than local people.

“The other matter within this paper, is its scant regard for the 1991 Planning Act, which premised its whole process on local people choosing local areas of development, through local and neighbourhood plans.”

Cllr Stuchbury said this posed “really large questions” for Buckinghamshire Council.

“It’s about everybody’s future and when the decision is taken it’ll be far too late then. The land options will be given and the direction of travel for Buckinghamshire will be decided. It is about who decides where the growth goes in Buckinghamshire and who doesn’t.

“For the first time in Buckinghamshire’s history, with the new unitary council, we have the opportunity to balance developments against growth, the environment, employment and everything.”

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Cllr Stuchbury added: “Not all of Buckinghamshire has a major development plan – South Buckinghamshire doesn’t within the old Chiltern and South Bucks area and neither does Aylesbury Vale. Only Wycombe.

“Constituents need to be aware Buckinghamshire Council may not in the future be choosing where large developments will take place. Of course, none of this was in a manifesto at the time of the election.”

Bucks Free Press:

On August 2, Buckinghamshire Council leader, Martin Tett, sided with Swindon Council leader, David Renard, who told the BBC oversight by local councils was critical to prevent developers having “free reign”.

“We need great places for people to live not just uncontrolled urban sprawl,” tweeted Cllr Tett.