Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bower's Contract: 4. Fixing Planning

Local planning policies are broken. I want to see an end to garden grabbing, insufficient parking on new developments, the sacrifice of open spaces and the destruction of Cambridge's heritage.

Many of our problems derive from national rules, including effective maximum parking restrictions and crazy housing targets. Indeed the threat to Marshall was a consequence of Labour's housing targets, as warned by local Conservatives but dismissed as scaremongering by Labour councillors. Yet the city is suffering from a lack of family housing - a problem that the current mass development plans don't address.

However, the city council's own rules (the 'local plan') and the manner of their implementation make problems much worse.

If elected I would add my voice to that of Chris Howell's in calling for a rapid rethink of the plan, along with strategic development plans to take advantage of what we must all hope will be a new Conservative government's cancellation of Regional Spatial Strategies and reform of planning rules.

Even without a Conservative government, however, I would call for the city council to strengthen the plan to protect Cambridge's heritage, to remove the crazy tighter local requirement for maximum parking provision that is currently ensuring chaos for the future and to cut down on garden-grabbing developments.

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