CLA MEETS PLANNING MINISTER

Sir Edward Greenwell, President of the Country Land and Business Association, the voice of the rural economy, yesterday met Planning Minister, Lord Falconer, to press home the CLA's concerns about the rural implications of the Planning Green Paper.

The Minister was briefed on the key proposals in the Green Paper which affect rural businesses and jobs and concerns were raised over the development plan system, the tariff system, and the 28 day rule for temporary land use.

Following the meeting, Sir Edward Greenwell said:

"The CLA was able to give Lord Falconer our support for his proposals to increase the speed and efficiency of the planning system.

"Our need is for a flexible planning system to promote growth and jobs for all in the countryside. The CLA is concerned, however, that the over-arching nature of the development plans outlined in the Green Paper will leave rural areas of England without proper coverage, and that the tariff system proposed will act as a barrier to small business rural development.

"The CLA appreciates the need to remove the County Structure Plan from the planning system but are calling for the different localised characteristics of rural areas within regions to be recognised through strategic statements in all Local Development Frameworks. These would link back to the Regional Strategies but would allow the local character of rural communities to have the maximum influence on decisions.

"Our views on the proposed removal of the 28 day temporary use clause are well known. There is no need for this change. Only 30 out of 388 local authorities identified temporary use as a problem and the current system can deal with isolated concerns. Traditional rural events such as fetes and shows are threatened by this, and that makes it likely to be deeply unpopular."