Planning criticism

Mark Menzies MP
Mark Menzies MP
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Fylde MP Mark Menzies has hit out at housing companies targeting the borough.

Writing in his Express column this week, the MP said attempts to put planning decisions in the hands of local people were not being felt within communities, with developers ignoring the draft Local Plan, the blueprint for housing in Fylde up to 2030.

He added: “Most people understand that some growth is necessary, indeed our Parliamentary colleagues often accuse the Government of failing to do enough to incentivise builders to build even more new homes.

“However, I for one will not stand by and let that process be dictated by developers trying to ram through applications before the Local Plan is complete and therefore nullifying the hard work of local people who are attempting to ensure any new homes in Fylde are built in a sustainable and considered manner and are supported by appropriate infrastructure improvements.”

Mr Menzies’ comments followed a meeting at Westminster Hall earlier this week where he challenged former planning minister Nick Boles on the issues Fylde faced.

In recent months, villages including Warton and Wrea Green have been targeted by developers trying to take advantage of planning rules.

Mr Menzies said planning applications refused by Fylde Council were being appealed by developers – costing in the region of £50,000 a time.

He added if the Planning Inspectorate continued to “dance to the tune” of developers reform would be needed for the Localism Act.

In response Mr Boles, who was replaced as housing minister by Brandon Lewis in a cabinet reshuffle earlier this week, said a failure to establish a Local Plan in Fylde was working against the borough.

He added: “It is of no consolation to the residents of Fylde to know that in many other parts of the country, because residents there have managed to get a Local Plan in place, local decisions are being made and adhered to, not overturned by planning inspectors.”

Mike Wright, of Warton Residents Against Poor Planning (WRAPP) said he was “encouraged” by Mr Menzies’ efforts.