Lidgett and Beyond held an encouraging fund raising and call to arms event at Colne Cricket Club on Saturday 8th March. I thanked all those who had helped, in whatever way, to get over to Pendle Council, our constructive comments on the latest Pendle Core Strategy draft. When finalised and Government approved this document will be the Bible for about everything planning related, in Pendle, up to 2030. Just the previous basic national planning laws ran to around thirteen hundred pages to be superseded by just 52, yes 52 pages in the new overall National Planning Policy Framework. At a Pendle Council Cabinet meeting last December Lord Grieves summed up this new planning legislation as a mess.
I stressed that the national outcry against always supporting developers and their constant use of those easily manipulated terms "viable" and "sustainable" had led to welcome revisions being made in the last few days. This proves the Government is seeing the error of its ways and the imperative of developing Brownfield sites first.
Brownfield sites are almost invariably stuck with problems from the past which tend to make them more expensive to develop so developers instinctively home in on more profitable Greenfield sites like the Rough. Our L&B campaigns will be helped by the removal of the Community Infrastructure Levy, whereby developers pay for infrastructure improvements when Brownfield sites are being developed. In addition, councils now have the power to block developments in Greenfield areas if local road and sewerage arrangements cannot cope with extra homes.
I pointed out that Nick Boles, the planning minister admitted that changes had to be made because the Government recognises that the new Framework was not working as it should. He had said: "We want to use every inch of previously developed land to meet housing need". Surely this is a precise and common sense statement which should be adhered to literally from now on. It also reflects the guidance of a former Conservative grandee to his younger less experienced colleagues and was recorded in my blog two years
In spite of all this, our fight to save the Rough will still present a formidable challenge. But all sites which are forcibly snatched from us and from hundreds of others all over the country in similar circumstances
are, when aggregated, a frightening and formidable overall despoliation of the UK. This is mindless short termism at its very worst. A shameful legacy to future generations!
Finally I thanked all those who had helped, volunteered to help, canvassed, given raffle prizes or otherwise furthered our cause to try to protect and enhance our precious local surroundings for the benefit of everybody who comes to enjoy them. My thanks went especially to Sarah and David for the truly monumental effort they have put into this call to arms. Without them it would quite simply never have assumed such impressive and focussed proportions. I urged those who are with us to please keep supporting us and rally any of their neighbours who can help. We know that the majority of Pendle councillors support us as they always have done. Andrew Stephenson who has supported us since he became our MP was at the Cricket Club on 8th March. I left him with the message;-
"Please go and rattle Eric Pickles', Nick Boles', and David Cameron's respective cages. Rattle them hard and rattle them now Andrew!"
Read Nick Boles statement https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/local-planning