Conservatives 2015: Local plan panel member calls for community right of appeal

A member of a panel appointed to advise the government on speeding up the local plan process has said that local communities should be given the right to appeal planning decisions that conflict with neighbourhood plans.

John Howell MP (pic Kirsty Pitkin via Flickr)
John Howell MP (pic Kirsty Pitkin via Flickr)

Speaking at a Conservative Party conference fringe session hosted by the Town and Country Planning Association and the Crown Estate, John Howell, Tory MP for Henley, expressed his support for introducing a community right of appeal.

He told the fringe session: "Personally, I'm very much in favour of local people being given the right to appeal, particularly where a decision is taken that is contrary to a neighbourhood plan. I don't think that would be unduly messy."

Speaking earlier at the fringe session, John Beesley, leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, had warned: "That's a rather messy system and not one without any problems."

Howell, who authored the Conservative Party's Open Source Planning document ahead of the 2010 general election, is a member of a panel set up to advise ministers on streamlining the local plan process.

Speaking about the review of the local plan process, Howell said he wanted to make the process less litigious. "I don't mind if I take away the bread from [lawyers'] mouths in making local plans less litigious," he said. "We need a simplified system that people can rely on."

Howell added: "I don't believe that it's actually going to be that difficult to turn a local plan into a local plan rather than it being the equivalent of the bible."

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