As the delegate for East Bedlington Parish Council, I have attended several meetings regarding the proposed changes to the planning system in Northumberland. a
It is evident since the merger of authorities in 2009 the planning process has deteriorated.
This has also been identified by Deloitte and POSE in their respective reports to Northumberland County Council.
As new targets have been set by central government it looks unlikely that unless changes are made, all major planning decisions will no longer be made by Northumberland County Council committees of elected members but by an independent government inspector, undertaking a desk top study in Bristol.
Planning affects every facet of people’s lives; job opportunities; housing; environment; transport etc.
It is therefore paramount that there is an input at a local level.
If county councillors are not allowed to deliver an effective reform of the current system, do we really want to be forced to accept the alternative?
It is important that parish and town councils in Northumberland continue to have the opportunity to make comments and still be able to represent their communities through speaking at meetings.
We will not be able to do this if decisions are to be made in Bristol.
Coun Alex Wallace
East Bedlington Parish Council