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Plans must be scrutinised during coronavirus, says MP



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Proper scrutiny of planning applications must still be carried out during the coronavirus lockdown, a Suffolk MP has warned.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter has written to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing and Local Government, outlining his concerns, and calling on Suffolk’s councils to make sure adequate processes were in place before determining any planning application.

Dr Poulter said he feared some applications could be winning approval despite being unsustainable, leading to further problems down the line.

Dr Dan Poulter. (35454666)
Dr Dan Poulter. (35454666)

“As we are likely to be living with Covid-19 for many months and perhaps years, it is important that we find a way that allows our planning system to continue to function,” said Dr Poulter.

“But, in doing so, it is essential that important safeguards are maintained to ensure that the views of local communities continue to be properly considered as part of a transparent planning process.

“The introduction of recent emergency planning powers were not intended to be used to steam-roll through inappropriate development.

“We must continue to support the building of schools and hospitals, but it is also important that we do not allow big house-building companies to push through large housing projects without due process and scrutiny.”

It is not uncommon for planning officers to determine applications, particularly smaller and non-controversial developments, but planning committees made up of councillors normally determine any proposals which could be deemed divisive, or those featuring a large number of homes.



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