Coalition's planning reforms 'fraught with danger'
THE right to legally challenge large-scale planning developments is to be dramatically restricted, the Prime Minister said yesterday.
David Cameron vowed to curb people's right to ask a judge to review controversial plans in a bid to promote economic growth when he addressed the Confederation of British Industry.
He told business leaders the current judicial review system had been abused by campaigners with 'hopeless cases' who were looking to delay developers.
But the judicial review had been a popular tool for campaigners and councils wanting to overturn decisions.
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Tewkesbury Borough Council launched a judicial review into the government's decision to back developers looking to build a total of 1,000 homes near Bishop's Cleeve in July.
The authority's chief executive Mike Dawson said: "Our appeal against the Secretary of State's decision to give permission for two major housing developments in Bishop's Cleeve is an important one.
"The Secretary of State's decision went against widespread local opposition."
One of the proposals outlined by Mr Cameron included reducing the three-month time limit currently in place for people seeking a review.
The cost of applying would also increase.
Mr Cameron's announcement came months after the coalition floated another set of potential planning reforms.
They included plans to make it easier for home owners to build extensions and allow the Government to take applications away from councils deemed to be acting unsatisfactorily.
Andrew North, the chief executive of Cheltenham Borough Council, said: "Taking away powers from local authorities that are deemed to be failing in the planning process is anti-democratic and contrary to the government's rhetoric on localism.
"I think that if people understand, as I am sure they will, that they are unable to appeal to the local authority about development just next door that they think is inappropriate and they are informed that this is because of a change in government policy then inevitably they will blame the government and that is where the blame should lie."