'Fight this change to planning system'
Changes to local planning laws are being considered by the government, moving toward a zonal planning system where key decisions are taken from local councils and handed to development corporations.
Bishopston ecologist Dawn Lawrence is concerned about the severing of local control and says: “At the moment we have a say about what is built in our neighbourhood because it goes through local planning and our elected councillors have an influence.
“These proposals not only remove a vital layer of planning control, but also take away local people's voices from the process. It is a potential disaster for our cities and people and there’s little enough enough protection for wildlife locally.”
Redland councillor Martin Fodor has been working on the cross-party group considering Bristol’s local plan, says: “My experience of existing planning deregulation makes me worried what will happen to our neighbourhood when changes can be made without local planning control or committees of councillors responsible to the electorate. Already office blocks have been turned into flats with these permitted development rights – the only say the local planning authority gets is features like additional details of bin and cycle storage or if cladding or an extra storey gets added.
“If we can’t involve local people in drawing up policies for the city and neighbourhood then our ability to get the city fit for the climate emergency, to protect nature, soils, and the character of our streets - like the Gloucester Road conservation area - goes out the window.”
See petition: https://actions.sumofus.org/a/stop-cummings-stripping-away-our-rights/