Posted by: dorsetcpre | March 8, 2014

CPRE West Dorset Annual Meeting

West Dorset MP, Oliver Letwin, has defended Government changes in planning law. At the CPRE West Dorset annual meeting at Stratton he claimed the introduction of Neighbourhood Plans would increase local democracy and re-engage local people in the planning process.

He said that once Neighbourhood Plans were approved they would over-rule what district council planning committees wanted on many local issues. “If you put forward a plan for a new home and it complies with the Neighbourhood Plan it should be approved in a matter or ten minutes in the future…equally if it does not fit in with what the plan outlines it will be equally speedily rejected.” The West Dorset MP said that the Neighbourhood Plans were already re-engaging local people in planning issues in places like the Cerne Valley and Puddletown where the process was already underway. He said that while people might not care so much about district-wide and strategic plans when it came down to doorstep level most people were keen to get involved.

Oliver Letwin at West Dorset Group AGM 2014

In a question and answer session the MP defended Government renewable energy policies over wind turbines and solar ‘farms’ saying that each application would have to be considered on its merits. He also rejected suggestions that too much farmland could be lost to housing and industrial development and argued that there had to be a balance found to deal with housing shortages and to create more jobs, especially in rural areas.

Reg Hanbury, CPRE West Dorset chairman

Reg Hanbury, CPRE West Dorset chairman

Around fifty people attended the annual meeting where Reg Hanbury was re-elected chairman of the group and Sue Cumming will continue in the treasurer’s role. Richard Nicholls, Alan Marr and Sarah Horniman will also remain on the committee. Details on future committee meetings and events will be listed on the Dorset CPRE website.

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