In his column in the South Shropshire Journal today, Ludlow MP Philip Dunne makes the case for local planning.

Mr Dunne refers to two cases we determined at last week’s South Planning Committee. One proposal was thrown out on grounds of sustainability, the other because of its impact on the AONB. It is more than likely that these cases will be appealed to the planning inspectorate. Neither proposal is in the SAMDev – Shropshire Council’s emerging plan for allocating sites for development up until 2026.

I am sure Mr Dunne is not right when says SAMDev will “become the definitive basis on which new development will be permitted” once it is submitted to the planning inspectorate. It will have only limited influence on planning decisions, possibly very limited influence if it is challenged, until the planning inspector finds it sound. That will be after a public inquiry, so SAMDev may not have much influence until 2015.

Our MP is also offering to lobby for appeals for sites not in the SAMDev to be ‘recovered’ by the secretary of state:

I am prepared to argue for Ministerial recovery on appeal of controversial applications not included in SAMDev‎, to give Shropshire Council greater confidence in determining speculative applications‎ in the Ludlow constituency.

When an appeal is recovered, the planning inspectorate does all the groundwork, but it is the secretary of state, currently Eric Pickles, who makes the final decision. Pickles has quite a reputation at the moment for throwing out recovered appeals for windfarms. But when it comes to housing appeals, he leans towards approving them.

So no one should think that having Eric Pickles, or his successor, recover an appeal will increase the odds of it being rejected. That said, Pickles rejected a housing development in Leicestershire because it conflicts with the merging neighbourhood plan. Perhaps he will reject schemes that conflict with the emerging SAMDev.

Philip Dunne praises the Much Wenlock neighbourhood plan, which was approved in a referendum on 22 May. My view is that Ludlow urgently needs a neighbourhood plan to strengthen the SAMDev and to plan sensibly for the inevitable development between Rock’s Green and the Eco Park.

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