Angmering’s MP vents his anger over threats to localism

Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert has campaigned alongside communities fighting against large-scale housing projects
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert has campaigned alongside communities fighting against large-scale housing projects

ARUNDEL and South Downs’ MP has called on Parliament to provide communities with greater protection from housing developers that ‘circle villages like hawks’.

Nick Herbert spoke during a debate in the House of Commons on Monday (December 8) and urged for more consideration to be given to smaller rural communities and green spaces between settlements which he felt needed to be maintained.

The MP also pledged to table amendments to abolish, or at the very least curtail, the power of the Planning Inspectorate, to prevent it from making didactic interventions in the planning process, ensuring communities have tighter control over development.

Speaking during the infrastructure debate, Mr Herbert said: “I agree about the importance of speeding up the provision of nationally needed infrastructure, but as a Government we also promised that we would deliver localism to communities.

“In fact, local communities are very concerned when planning permissions are given that local infrastructure should be sufficient to meet the needs of the new development.

“Too often in my constituency, the development of houses has not been matched with sufficient provision for schools, local roads or even basic things such as sewerage provision. This has resulted in placing great pressure on local infrastructure, and it undermines support for local developments.”

Mr Herbert said he greatly supported the Government’s Localism Act, which gave towns and villages across the nation more power to determine their futures with the use of neighbourhood plans.

In recent months, plans from across Arundel, Littlehampton, Yapton and East Preston have been approved, among others.

However, Mr Herbert told the Commons that this process was under threat from speculative applications by developers, which are either granted by the district councils or overturned on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate.

Addressing the house, Mr Hebert said: “While all four of the district councils in my constituency are preparing responsible plans for the delivery of substantial numbers of houses, speculative applications are being made by developers who are circling villages like hawks.

“They want to get in quickly and secure planning permission that would otherwise not be given under the local plans but is being allowed in this instance because the planning inspector is taking a view of the provisions for five-year land supply that is excessive and unrealisable.”