The Coronavirus is clearly dominating Parliamentary business at the moment but Jason has still raised other important issues in recent months such as College funding, broadband connectivity, protecting our moorlands, supporting local food & drink producers and the Post Office network.
One of the big local concerns is planning and a number of huge housing developments. Here’s a recent speech Jason gave on Local Planning and why Kirklees can’t just keep forcing through these unsustainable developments against local wishes:
Jason McCartney MP
The debate is timely for my constituents, who are currently fighting unsuitable and unsustainable housing developments across my West Yorkshire constituency. Developments include those on Netherton Moor Road, in Crosland Moor on Blackmoorfoot Road, in Pentlands on New Mill Road and on Wesley Avenue in Netherthong. Labour-run Kirklees Council’s local plan is leading to greenfield sites being dug up for unsuitable and unsustainable developments, much against the wishes of local people.
A few weeks ago, I joined hundreds of local residents from Netherton in opposing a 250 Persimmon Homes development on a picturesque greenfield site on the edge of their village. The planning committee met virtually, but I and other objectors were cut off halfway through our statements. The development was controversially passed, despite legitimate concerns about flooding, highways and local ecology and wildlife. Residents were left feeling angry and disenfranchised by the planning committee’s shoddy conduct. The scale and nature of the development is unsustainable for the community of Netherton, and there are similar concerns about plans for 700-plus houses in Crosland Moor.
That is why I have deep concerns about the “Planning for the Future” White Paper. We need more local control and democracy when it comes to developments. We need more protection for green spaces—not just green belt, but the green fields that give my village communities the much-needed green lungs.
It is all well and good making a local plan sacrosanct, but what if it was rammed through against local wishes and has not got the confidence or support of local people? We have lost confidence in Labour-run Kirklees on planning. Hundreds of houses keep being imposed on village communities, with no regard for highways provision, school places, doctors’ surgeries and so on. When there is section 106 money, supposedly for local amenities and infrastructure, it just disappears into a general pot. We need more local involvement and more opportunity for local people to scrutinise and have their say on local planning applications. More priority needs to be given to brownfield sites and building more affordable homes to meet local needs. So often, the developments are for four and five-bed executive homes, crammed on to greenfield sites.
Like my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) and my hon. Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr Hollobone), I have huge concerns about the supposed new housing formula or algorithm. I think we have all had enough of algorithms this year. I fear that the new formula will allow developers to build hundreds of new houses on much-valued greenfield sites in my patch.
My constituents and I are fed up with the wrong houses in the wrong places. The White Paper should give local people a bigger say in the future of their communities. I agree with CPRE. Let us create a planning system that delivers genuinely affordable homes and protects locally valued green spaces, while boosting trust and participation in the planning system of the future.