Chesterfield council leader calls for more local control over green field development after Government U-turn

Chesterfield’s council leader says the community must have a say on future housing development after a Government U-turn on planning reform.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 9:18 am

Controversial housebuilding targets – which many believe would have made the planning process easier for developers – look set to be torn up by the new housing secretary Michael Gove.

In Chesterfield, council chiefs have admitted they face an ongoing ‘balancing act’ to meet housing demand while ensuring green spaces are not lost for future generations.

Councillor Tricia Gilby, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “I welcome the fact that Michael Gove put the planning reforms on hold when he became Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

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Coun Tricia Gilby, Chesterfied’s Borough Council leader, says the community must have a say on housing developments.

"However, we must continue to make it very clear to the Government that local people must have a say.

“This was reinforced by Chesterfield Borough Council, at a meeting on October 13, 2021, where councillors voted unanimously for a motion proposed by Coun Ian Callan, chair of the Planning Committee.

"The motion stated that: “This council believes planning works best when developers and the local community work together to shape local areas and deliver necessary new homes; and therefore calls on the Government to protect the right of communities to object to individual planning applications.”

The council has said it is disappointing when appeals by developers are upheld by planning inspectors in London.

Although this is ‘the exception rather than the rule’, it did happen when plans for homes at Northmoor View, Brimington, were initially thrown out by councillors but supported by the planning inspectorate and this eventually led to planning permission being granted.

Coun Gilby also says environmental concerns must become more central to decision making on planning applications.

“I also note that recently Mr Gove said at the HCLG Select Committee that net zero carbon ambitions must be at the heart of future planning policy,” she added.

"Chesterfield Borough Council’s Local Plan already supports our Climate Change Action Plan, and this week I have written to the Prime Minister asking him what additional powers and funding will be giving to local authorities to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions.”