Planning policy fear

SIR - If, like me, you love the sight of our beautiful local countryside, you may be shocked to learn that the Government has published a new set of planning rules, which could give an automatic green light to any new development in the countryside outside the most protected sites such as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

For more than 50 years, the planning system has balanced the need for new buildings and houses with those of the environment and local people.

But the new national planning policy framework contains a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ which, as ministers are reluctant to tell anyone what ‘sustainable’ might mean, looks like a default ‘yes’ to development.

Local people will find it increasingly difficult to campaign against unsustainable development, nor will we get any appeal; green field sites will be concreted over. These are hardly the actions of a government aspiring to be ‘the greenest government ever’.

I am supporting the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) in fighting these changes, and they have helped me send a letter to my MP asking ministers to reconsider.

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I urge anyone else who wants England to remain a green and pleasant land to do the same by visiting

James Cocks, Hathersage House, Higher Metcombe,Ottery St Mary

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