Rural benefit in review changes

Fylde MP Mark Menzies (below) welcomes a crack down on judicial reviews.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies (below) welcomes a crack down on judicial reviews.
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THE Prime Minister’s promise to crack down on “time wasting” legal challenges to planning decisions will impact rural areas keen to retain their green spaces.

According to Fylde MP Mark Menzies, plans to make it harder to have a judicial review on planning policy would mean rural councils had more control over local planning applications.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies

Fylde MP Mark Menzies

David Cameron hopes to boost the economic recovery by reducing the time frame to appeal against planning decisions and holding judicial reviews.

Mr Cameron said the Government would reduce the time limit when people could bring cases and charge more for reviews so people would “think twice about time wasting”.

The announcement has been hailed as good news for rural communities by Mr Menzies.

“Had it been in place several years ago several planning decisions which ended up going to judicial review may not have been able to,” he said.

“It’s important that developers do not feel they can use their deep pockets and their legal teams to ultimately go to judicial review in order to change a planning decision.”

Coun Trevor Fiddler, Fylde Council’s cabinet member for planning and development, said the announcement could impact on rural communities, which might not be able to afford to go before the court but he stressed planning policy did not go far enough to bring decision-making power to rural councils.

He added: “When this government came into power, in the first two weeks it said it was going to give planning power back to local people, to determine their own destiny.

“It then took that power away and it has yet to be restored.”

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