LETTER: Decisive action on housing targets

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John Steele’s letter criticising Nick Herbert is very apposite, but is notable for the lack of any reference to his fellow vice- president of the Horsham Society, MP Francis Maude.

Neither MP has been able to get Planning Minister Nick Boles to address the imposition of unattainable housing targets. They leave Planning Inspectors with an excuse to over-ride decisions by councils, using ‘presumption in favour’.

What a contrast from the tenacity of Roger Arthur, who quickly analysed the problem.

He not only petitioned for a moratorium on presumption in favour and made a Commons Select Committee submission, but met Nick Boles and continues urge him to deal with the root cause of the problem.

A press release earlier this year stated that ‘Nick Herbert has welcomed changes to planning guidance announced by the Government last week, saying that they would be very helpful in West Sussex and should ensure a better balance between housing and protecting the countryside’.

They clearly weren’t helpful, because they didn’t address the cause of the problem. Neither was his undertaking to abolish the Planning Inspectorate realistic, considering that Mr Boles has appointed so many more of them.

Our MPs are powerless to deal with the root cause of the problem, which continues to allow indiscriminate development on green field and flood prone sites, whilst allowing developers to avoid brown field sites.

Nick Herbert was recently reported as saying that inspectors have undermined the Localism, promised by his government. It is a pity that he has taken so long to acknowledge that.

So whilst one MP has spent many months wringing his hands, without resolving the problem, the other continues to remain silent.

What we need now is realistic and decisive action, to avoid the further unnecessary despoliation of our countryside and overloading of infrastructure.

NEIL WHITEAR

Chairman, UKIP Horsham Branch, Crawley Road, Horsham