Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Local residents across Hertfordshire will be robbed of their voice on local planning decisions, warned Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, in response to publication of the Government?s Planning Green Paper. The consultation document outlines how the Labour Government want to strip Hertfordshire County Council of its planning powers in a number of areas.

    Peter Lilley explained:

    “While the planning system needs reform, abolishing Hertfordshire residents? say on local planning is a retrograde step. Local people will be robbed of their voice on large developments like the West of Stevenage development. Labour are giving the green light to greenfield destruction on a massive scale.

    “The Government?s document makes clear that:

    ? County councillors? role in standing up for local people will be abolished.
    ? New regional planning strategies will end local discretion on many developments.
    ? Major infrastructure projects will be decided at a national level, not a local level.
    ? A new government planning quango will interfere with local councils.
    ? 90% of planning decisions will now be decided by officers, not by elected councillors.

    “Removing Hertfordshire County Council?s planning powers is just another step in Labour?s regional agenda. They are steadily eroding the role of the counties to make way for a new tier of regional politicians. This Government cannot stomach the fact that Conservative county councillors across the country have opposed the unpopular housebuilding targets which Labour wants to ram through.

    “The voters of Hertfordshire voted out the Labour/Lib Dem coalition which had pushed through the plan to build 10,000 houses west of Stevenage. The now Conservative-led council is currently looking for alternatives. People across Hertfordshire will be outraged if the Government responds by removing their councillors? power to take decisions affecting our own back yard.?