Monday, 24 October 2011

A Local Matter with National Implications

Enterprise Inns Ltd have applied for outline planning permission to build three houses on the plot of green open space next to the Huntsman Car Park at the bottom of Pemberton Road in Woodham.

I don’t know what you think about this, but as far as I am concerned it is yet another attempt to fill up the green open spaces in our town with buildings. Most readers will know that I have no objection to an outward expansion on the outskirts of town, provided it is surrounded by a green buffer zone, but I’m against this constant infilling, which threatens the ‘green’ nature of our garden town.

However, this was not what worried me most about this application, but the fact that the company’s agents had submitted an 18-page document in support of the application – citing, no less, the Draft National Planning Policy Framework (DNPPF). The document cited the Framework’s presumption in favour of sustainable development, and stated the benefit to the community of providing housing. It even noted that Durham County Council had not yet produced its Local Plan, and quoted the DNPPF’s provision that planning authorities should look to grant permission ‘where the Local Plan is absent, silent, indeterminate or out of date’!

Now – apart from the outrage that the application is citing a document which was still under consultation, never mind not yet law – does this not worry you? Did I not warn that if the DNPPF became law we would see a rush to build on every green space, citing this ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’? I fear it is impossible to underestimate the danger that the DNPPF poses to our green town environment, and we must continue to lobby the government to see sense. I for a start will be writing to the government to point out this misuse of the DNPPF and its implications.

In the meantime - if you are local - if you, as I, oppose this infill housing on the green field land next to the Huntsman car park, email, quoting case number 7/2011/0380/DM (DL5 4UE), giving your name address and telephone number, and saying simply that you object to the loss of green field amenity open space. Your objection will have more impact if you add why you value and wish to retain this open space.

If you want to see the objection I am sending, it is here.
If you want to see the whole application, it is publicly available here.

You have until 3rd November, when the consultation period ends.

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