BARNSLEY residents could be gagged from having their say on controversial planning applications under ‘damaging’ new plans outlined by the government.
Proposed changes could be the biggest change to the planning system since the Town and Country Planning Act in 1947, which effectively regulated what types of development were allowed in certain areas such as green belt land.
But new proposals put forward by ministers - which resulted in five Barnsley councillors joining forces with others across the country in a bid to force a rethink - have already faced fierce opposition.
Councillors Neil Danforth of Dearne South, Robert Frost of Wombwell, Dave Griffin of Penistone West, Phil Lofts of Old Town and Cudworth’s Charlie Wraith all signed a letter to the government - backed by countryside charity CPRE - in a bid to block the change.
The government’s Planning for the Future consultation, which took place in the autumn, proposed radical changes to the planning system but CPRE South Yorkshire believe this could reduce the opportunity for residents to influence planning decisions.
Barnsley councillors have warned the proposals will undermine the public’s trust in the planning process and ‘could radically reduce protections for nature and local green spaces’.
A statement on behalf of the local councillors said: “The message from communities is clear but it’s not too late for the government to rethink its controversial upheaval of the planning system.
“Planning done well can create the affordable and well-designed homes that communities are crying out for. We can create low-carbon and nature-friendly homes, with an abundance of green space on their doorsteps, all connected by public transport.
“Investing in a locally-led democratic planning system, that empowers local councils to create these places, should be the government’s top priority.”