Buckingham MP Greg Smith writes exclusively to BFP readers:

The future of planning reforms is hitting the headlines a lot recently. As always, with anything political these days there is considerable scaremongering about what the governments proposed planning reforms really mean. So I thought I would use this month’s column to outline where I stand on future planning policy.

I’ve always been clear, I oppose any further ‘take’ of our Buckinghamshire countryside for development.

Bluntly, we have taken far more than our fair share of housebuilding, at a considerable environmental loss.

Likewise, whilst I am proud to have been able to persuade the government to cancel the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway which would have carved us up yet further, clearly those of us opposed to HS2 lost that argument and we all witness on a daily basis the horrors of that unwanted, unneeded and unaffordable railway is built.

Within some of the proposals we have seen from the government is a presumption that future development should be on ‘brownfield’ sites. That would be a fundamentally good thing.

As much as I oppose the loss of our countryside, I am of the opinion that it would be equally criminal not to redevelop the old disused industrial sites and other inner-city and inner-town areas that are suitable for housebuilding.

Indeed, you could categorise my position as only favouring brownfield development.

Our current planning system doesn’t work, we can see that from the level of development given the green light that is utterly unsuitable.

Take the Deanfield development in Ickford passed by the Planning Inspectorate, enabled by a system that is blind to the reality of how often that land floods, only taking into account the desktop ‘experts’ who claimed flooding would be a once in 100 year eventuality.

To that end, as planning reforms come to the House of Commons later this year, I will be working with like-minded fellow MPs to bring forward amendments to properly protect Buckinghamshire’s countryside that is, in my opinion, inherently a part of our character and identity.

Amendments that force the system to properly undertake flood risks. Amendments that give added development protections to those of us suffering from unwanted infrastructure builds like HS2.

And amendments that mean decision making on development is taken as locally as possible.

We can get planning right in our country. But it won’t be easy. Let me know what you think by emailing greg.smith.mp@parliament.uk.