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New powerful national community alliance calls for 'new right of appeal on planning’

14 March 2015

A new powerful alliance of Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Civic Voice and the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), today (14 March) called on all political parties to make a firm manifesto commitment to introduce a “community right of appeal” into the planning system.

The alliance believes that all political parties should support local ambitions by introducing a limited community right of appeal in areas where a development is non-compliant with a neighbourhood plan or local plan. Currently parish councils and other community groups have the power to produce neighbourhood plans, but no scope to stop developers overriding this by putting in speculative planning applications for approval by the district council. Budget cuts within local authorities mean that they are under increasing pressure to allow large developments, even when these are not in line with the community's aspirations for the future of its area.

The call was made today at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference where the three organisations have joined together with Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham Martin Horwood a MP to hold a debate on the benefits of such a right.

Martin Horwood said: "The introduction of a Community Right of Appeal could be triggered when a high threshold of community opposition was reached. Grounds for appeal could include insufficient infrastructure, non-compliance with government guidance and non-compliance with a local neighbourhood plan. We can all think of examples across Cheltenham when this right could have been used and there must be thousands across the country."

CPRE Chief Executive Shaun Spiers said: "The planning system needs to be rebalanced to give communities the right to stand up to bullying developers and appeal against planning decisions which ignore local or neighbourhood plans. The grounds on which developers can appeal should be restricted and a limited community right of appeal introduced. The vast majority of planning applications would be unaffected by such measures, but they would provide important safeguards to ensure communities can resist unsustainable development proposals."

Freddie Gick, Chair of Civic Voice said: “At present, the only recourse for the public against poor planning decisions is judicial review. A right of appeal would give local people a real opportunity to have a say and would rebalance the planning system and help deliver true localism.”

NALC Chairman, Councillor Ken Browse said: “The voice of local people through the local (town and parish) councils should always be at the heart of planning. To some extent this is being achieved through the statutory neighbourhood plan. But communities via local councils feel that their planning demands are being ignored and there is still the potential for developers to try and ride roughshod against the neighbourhood plan. So a ‘right of appeal’ would stop this planning injustice”.

The three organisations have published their own individual manifestos and are each calling for a community right of appeal within them.

Notes for Editors
1. The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) is the nationally recognised membership body representing the interests of 9,000 local councils. They have 80,000 local councillors in England.NALC’s manifesto can be found at: http://www.nalc.gov.uk/our-work/the-manifesto-campaign. For further information please contact Alan Jones, 020 7290 0304 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
2. Civic Voice is the national charity for the civic movement in England. We make places more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive. We promote civic pride. Civice Voice’s manifesto can be found at: http://www.civicvoice.org.uk/manifesto For more information please contact Ian Harvey, 07877096968 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
3. The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) fights for a better future for the English countryside. We work locally and nationally to protect, shape and enhance a beautiful, thriving countryside for everyone to value and enjoy. Our members are united in their love for England’s landscapes and rural communities, and stand up for the countryside, so it can continue to sustain, enchant and inspire future generations. Founded in 1926, President: Sir Andrew Motion, Patron: Her Majesty The Queen. CPRE’s manifesto can be found at: http://www.cpre.org.uk/manifesto For further information, please contact Benjamin Halfpenny on 020 7981 2819 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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