A LUDLOW councillor has launched a savage attack on Government plans to change the planning system.

Andy Boddington, Shropshire councillor for Ludlow North, says 2020 will be remembered for many things. The pandemic and flooding among them.

“It will also be remembered as the year they took planning away from the people,” he said.

“The Government’s proposals in the white paper Planning for the Future and associated documents are bold. They will transfer many local planning powers from councils and communities to Whitehall and the planning inspectorate in Bristol. Ministers want planning by checklist instead of considered, albeit sometimes difficult, planning deliberations that lead to quality developments.

“There are sensible ideas in the Government’s proposals but they are countered by its determination to take democracy and localism out of planning.”

The councillor, who specialises in planning, says that the proposals are not just about tinkering with the system but making wholesale changes.

“After all, Planning for the Future doesn’t aim to fiddle with the planning system,” said Mr Boddington.

“It wants to shred it and replace it with new principles and different ways of working.

“Local plans will be produced more quickly and will be simpler and shorter.

“Design codes aimed at building beautifully will be introduced. That’s good. Ministers want to digitise the planning system. That’s also welcome.”

But Mr Boddington does not want a national system.

“Ministers and their advisers rage against the discretionary character of the planning system,” he added.

“Discretion is localism to you and me but ministers want local plans to set inviolate rules instead of outlining planning policies capable of interpretation and flexibility as needed.

“How local plans are implemented – will be nationalised.”