LABOUR Parliamentary candidate Tom Ebbutt has called on Bromsgrove District Council to sort out its planning problems.
He criticised the way the department was now controlled by the Government’s Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
And he said the authority needed to put the process back in the hands of local people.
Currently, because of the situation, developers can choose to have their applications heard directly by the DCLG’s Planning Inspectorate in Bristol, rather than Bromsgrove District Council’s Planning Committee.
He said: “The Conservative District Council’s chaotic management of major planning decisions such as Whitford Vale means it is currently the only council in the country to have its planning department in ‘special measures’, which means it is under the control of the Department of Communities and Local Government.
“With major planning applications for sites on the edge of Bromsgrove – including the upcoming planning application for 1,200 new homes to be built on the Perryfields site near the Stourbridge Road – as it stands major Bromsgrove planning decisions will be taken by unaccountable bureaucrats far away from Bromsgrove, and away from the determined scrutiny of Bromsgrove residents.
“Our failing Conservative council has lost control over the planning process, causing a Government run by its own party to put Bromsgrove’s planning department into special measures.
“Our council has no plan for the new housing that is heading our way.
“Bromsgrove is already at a standstill at rush hour – without action these new houses will cause road chaos.
“If I was MP for Bromsgrove I would speak up for local residents’ right to be heard on planning decisions and ensure the council had a plan for local infrastructure – whether that be roads, schools or health services – rather than being railroaded by developers into new housing it hasn’t planned for.”
Kit Taylor, Conservative spokesperson for planning and Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, claimed Mr Ebbutt had no understanding of the planning process.
“As he should be aware, designation only impacts large-scale developments – and even then, those developers choose whether or not to go to the Planning Inspectorate.
“Day-to-day planning applications by local residents remain unaffected.
“Either Mr Ebbutt is woefully misinformed by his Labour colleagues on the council, or he is deliberately misleading residents.
“Once again, this outburst from Mr Ebbutt shows the contrast between Labour, which will spread fear and alarm to get people’s votes, and the Conservatives, who have a clear plan for housing growth and the next steps for Bromsgrove District.”