Suffolk MP, Dr Dan Poulter, raises concerns over councils misusing emergency planning powers

Our local MP, Dr Dan Poulter, has raised concerns over councils potentially misusing emergency planning powers, after a number of controversial developments have recently been given the green light.

A number of applications have been highlighted by concerned residents, most recently in relation to an application for some 115 houses to the land south of Fitzgerald Road in Bramford.  This is the third time this application has been submitted.

The proposed site extends beyond the footprint of the local plan and the village has already accepted additional development equivalent to a 50% increase in housing within the local community.  The land in question is good agricultural land and there is an alternative brownfield site available, which has historically had planning permission and the Bramford community would welcome development on this alternative site.  As the current application stands, there are concerns around potential flood risks and disruption to wildlife, including endangered species identified at the site.  

Speaking about the issue, Dr Poulter said “As we are likely to be living with COVID-19 for many months and perhaps years, it is important that we find a way that allows our planning system to continue to function.  But in doing so, it is essential that important safeguards are maintained to ensure that the views of local communities continue to be properly considered as part of a transparent planning process.  The introduction of recent emergency planning powers were not intended to be used to steam-roll through inappropriate development.”

“We must continue to support the building of schools and hospitals, but it is also important that we do not allow the big house-building companies to push through large housing projects without due process and scrutiny.”

“As someone who lives locally in Suffolk, I share the concerns of residents and that’s why I have written to the Secretary of State for Housing and Local Government to raise my concerns about the need to maintain proper scrutiny of local planning decisions.  I have also been in touch with the Chief Executive of Mid Suffolk District Council, who has reassured me that there are currently no plans to facilitate mass house building under the emergency planning laws.  It is vital that we continue to protect our countryside from inappropriate development and from the the dangers of mass house building.”