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Opinion: Planning decisions should make our communities better places

14:25 10 February 2014

A solar farm at Cromer.

A solar farm at Cromer.

Archant Norfolk 2013

Reader Steve Buckle is writing to all parish councils across Broadland for their views on solar farms.

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The coalition government has not the faintest idea of listening to parish councils, as promoted by Eric Pickles under the Localism Act. David Cameron is on record as stating there should be no building on greenfield sites and Greg Barker, energy minister, has stated in the House, that solar farms can’t be sited on greenfield sites blighting the landscape!
So we end up at Broadland District Council with piecemeal planning applications, applications refused locally and then appealed to the inspector who duly agrees. What nonsense! More specifically and in areas of designated parkland, outstanding natural beauty and SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) eg the Norfolk Broads, it will be seemingly allowed to happen here for any application?
Legislation is long overdue to arrest this barmy situation. I propose all parish councils across Broadland, lobby their MP, Keith Simpson, talk to their district councillors and county councillors.
I am looking for definitive planning regulations that prohibit opportunistic applications that destroy our historical landscape and thus prevent enormous expense and huge time-wasting in gathering petitions, judicial reviews, public examinations and legal challenges.
Broadland in the 21st century should have 21st century planning philosophies for the betterment of our community, retaining the ecology, the unique landscape and heritage, without jeopardising the quality of life of the residents and visitors to this part of East Anglia.
Planning has to be reviewed now. Consistently the views and wishes of local residents have been ignored, thus effectively reducing local democracy to total autocracy.

Steve Buckle,

Member for Wroxham Ward, Broadland District Council, Parishes of Wroxham, Belaugh, Rackheath, Salhouse, Lib Dem Group spokesman for housing, chairman, Broadland Constituency, Nelson Drive, Little Plumstead.

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