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Tag Archives: Planning

My Letter to Buckinghamshire Council on the Local Plan

Buckinghamshire Council’s Local Plan will shape future development in Wycombe for years to come. The Plan is currently at an early stage of the consultation. I have written to Ian Thompson, Corporate Director of Planning, Growth and Sustainability at Buckinghamshire Council, setting out my position on a range of issues. I strongly encourage all of my constituents to take part in the consultation so that your voices are heard and can shape the future of our area. The consultation can […]

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Green Belt Development can only be proposed under the most exceptional circumstances

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In Wycombe, we all care passionately about the development of our town and the maintenance of the local green belt. Many constituents have sent emails raising concerns about Wycombe District Council’s local plan and the future of our protected green spaces. On Monday 10th October, I raised the issue about the preservation of green-belt land during the debate about the Neighbourhood Planning Bill: Mr Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con): Before my right hon. Friend moves on, may I ask whether he will use this Bill to […]

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When planning goes wrong – business change of use

I feel sure I can claim the support of everyone if I write that the planning system should promote prosperity. I am certain those operating the system work diligently within the rules with that noble intent in mind. However, over the past few years, I have seen a number of instances where business owners have had what I considered their legitimate and beneficial commercial interests impeded or completely stymied by planning decisions. Reasons have always been given but in every case, […]

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On green belt protection

In DCLG questions this week: Charlie Elphicke (Dover) (Con): Will the Minister confirm that the national planning policy framework has provisions that protect the green belt from developers and people like the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr Sheerman) who would like to build all over it? Brandon Lewis: My hon. Friend is right, and I intend soon to issue additional guidance to reiterate the protection that the national planning policy framework provides to the green belt and other designated areas. That will make […]

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Westminster Hall debate on public consent for local plans

Yesterday in Parliament, I led a Westminster Hall debate on the issue of public consent for local plans. I introduced my remarks as follows, I begin by outlining two key problems. First, land for development is extremely scarce in Wycombe, and there is real public anger at the prospect of building on all of High Wycombe’s reserve sites, which would further burden the inadequate infrastructure, especially our roads. Secondly, there is an obvious, acute need for more homes, especially those […]

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Calling in the redevelopment of RAF Daws Hill

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Yesterday, I wrote as follows to the National Planning Casework Unit, copying the Secretary of State, asking for the RAF Daws Hill redevelopment to be called in. The letter should be self-explanatory. Neighbourhood planning is described here. National Planning Casework Unit 5 St Philips Place Colmore Row Birmingham, B3 2PW 12 December 2013 Dear Sir, 13/05799/FULEA – Former RAF site at Daws Hill, Daws Hill Lane, High Wycombe, HP11 1PZ The subject planning application was approved in accordance with the […]

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Via City A.M. – Boris on Starbucks and DC on judicial review

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On the cover of City A.M. this morning, Boris Johnson argues that Starbucks must do more for the UK. Apparently, the Mayor said of Starbucks, “It needs to reflect very fast and very seriously on its position…Either it makes a change in its tax arrangements or does a lot more to visibly serve society.” Now, I was critical of Starbucks in the press myself, but the Mayor is mixing up two issues: paying tax and serving society. As I said […]

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Protecting the green belt

My question yesterday as a supplementary to an oral question on green belt protection: Steve Baker (Wycombe) (Con):Will my right hon. Friend take steps to diminish planning inspectors’ powers over those who are democratically elected? Mr Pickles: My hon. Friend must have come across some grumpy planning inspectors. By and large, they are there to introduce the national planning policy framework, and to ensure that decisions are made in accordance with it. Local democratically elected representatives have a duty to […]

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Survival of the unfittest: why the worst infrastructure gets built—and what we can do about it

Via Survival of the unfittest: why the worst infrastructure gets built—and what we can do about it: […] Taken together, the UK and US studies both account well for existing data on cost underestimation and benefit overestimation. Both studies falsify the notion that in situations with high political and organizational pressure the underestimation of costs and overestimation of benefits is caused by non-intentional technical error or optimism bias. Both studies support the view that in such situations promoters and forecasters […]

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Simplifying the planning process: Enabling private sector businesses to invest and sustain growth

NB: this guest post is by Mimi Macejkova, my Parliamentary Intern and the views expressed are her own. In a recent letter sent to MPs, Greg Clark, Minister for Decentralisation and Cities of the Department for Communities and Local Government, introduces a Whitehall draft, which reforms a one thousand-page planning document to only 52 pages. This move is a step closer to fulfilling one of the Government’s goals towards a decentralised and simplified planning model and a shift away from central government […]

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