Bury Local Plan Consultation Final Chance

The Consultation by Bury Council on the proposed local plan closes at 5pm today so what better opportunity on a Bank Holiday than to make your views known.

You can read about what is proposed and how to submit your views here:

http://www.bury.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=10735

The submission I have made is follows:

This submission is made in response to the ‘Notice of Intention to prepare the Bury Local Plan and invitation to make representations on what the Local Plan should contain’ issued pursuant to Section 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning)(England) Regulations 2012.

  1. It is clear from the said Notice and in particular the following statement:

Given that the GMSF will form an integral part of Bury’s development plan, it is important to note that the approach set out in the GMSF will need to be reflected in the Bury Local Plan. In particular, the Local Plan will incorporate and reflect the levels of growth, the strategic policy approach, strategic site allocations and any revisions to the Green Belt that may evolve through the GMSF.

 

that the scope for any local determination of planning policy will be severely constrained by the decisions taken by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and /or the Elected Mayor of Greater Manchester.

Consequently, I wish to place on record that I oppose the present proposed Greater Manchester Spatial Framework as set out in my submission to the consultation on that document.

  1. I believe Bury should make it clear they do not accept the premises on which the GMSF is based. The timeframe is unnecessarily long. The projected size of households is too low based on both historical records and the official projections of household size. The use of both a shorter timeframe, a more realistic projection of the size of households combined with greater housing density on existing brownfield land and future brownfields sites which can reasonably be expected to arise during the timeframe of the plan would remove the requirement for development on the existing green belt land.
  2. I believe Bury should make it clear to the GMCA that they will not approve any plan which involves the erosion of Bury’s existing protected green belt land. This position could be completely defended by the use of the official projections for population growth and household size.
  3. Subject to the above I believe that the Local Plan should require all the infrastructure to be in place before any new development is permitted. This must include roads, drainage and telecommunications (including the provision of superfast broadband). In the case of residential development it must be demonstrated that there is sufficient capacity in public services in particular GP’s and schools both primary and secondary to cope with increased demand.
  4. Given the recent problems with flooding throughout the Borough specific and additional consideration must be given to the risk of flooding not only to the proposed new properties but to the existing properties who may be adversely affected.

Litter

As anyone involved in politics will tell you litter is a regular source of complaints. Yesterday the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs launched a National Litter Strategy.

The Litter Strategy aims to apply best practice in education, enforcement and infrastructure to deliver a substantial reduction in litter and the behaviour associated with it. The aim is to achieve demonstrable improvements in the cleanliness of our country and a cultural shift to make littering socially unacceptable.

Measures in the new Strategy include:

• Working with Highways England to target the 25 worst litter hotspots across our road network to deliver long-lasting improvements to the roads that are often the gateways to our towns and cities.

• Bringing forward regulations to give councils outside London new powers to fine the registered keeper of a vehicle from which litter is thrown.

• Convening a new expert group to look at further ways of reducing the worst kinds of litter, including plastic bottles and drinks containers, cigarette ends and fast food packaging.

• Consulting on increasing the fixed penalty for littering to £150.

• Recommending that offenders on community sentences, including people caught fly-tipping, help councils clear up litter and fly-tipped waste.

• Launching a Litter Innovation Fund to support innovative community-led projects aimed at tackling littering and which could see local success stories turned into national initiatives.

• Issuing new guidance for councils to be able to update the nation’s ‘binfrastructure’ through creative new designs and better distribution of public litter bins, making it easier for people to discard rubbish.

• Stopping councils from charging householders for disposal of DIY household waste at civic amenity sites – legally, household waste is supposed to be free to dispose of at such sites – reducing one of the drivers of fly-tipping.

• Creating a ‘green generation’ by educating children to lead the fight against litter through an increased number of Eco-Schools and boosting participation in national clean-up days, such as the Great British Spring Clean.

• Committing to a new national anti-littering campaign in 2018, working with industry and the voluntary sector to drive behaviour change across the country.

I am sure the Litter Strategy will not be a magic bullet to end littering but I hope it leads to a change in our culture so that it is no longer regarded as acceptable to drop litter.

BREXIT – Today is the day!

For some achieving Brexit has been a life’s work for these and others for whom the battle has been just a few years today is a day they perhaps never thought would arrive. For some today is a day they will have hoped would never arrive. But is has. After over nine months since the referendum result the UK will today give notice we are going to leave the European Union. After years chairing the Better Off Out group until the referendum it goes without saying I am pleased we are finally triggering Article 50 and in two years time we will be free from the control of the European Union.

I am pleased but I am also very conscious of the huge task which lies ahead. There is much negotiation for the government to do. there are many deals to be done. I am confident our European neighbours will realise that a good deal for the UK will be a good deal for the EU. I want to see the EU succeed even without us. sometimes they might do better than us sometimes we might do better than the EU. What matters is that it is in our joint interest for both the EU and the UK to be successful. I hope our departure will finally convince the leadership of the EU of the need for real change and move towards a much looser grouping. Unfortunately the existence of the single currency makes this very difficult and I suspect that the more likely future development will be a coming together of all the Countries who use the Euro.

In the months and years ahead there will be inevitably be many twists and turns millions more words will be written about the Brexit process. Today, is a day for quiet resolve to make a success of our future as we plan to once more become an  independent sovereign nation.

UKIP Minus One

The United Kingdom Independence Party have had a difficult time of late. At the last general election they lost 50% of their Members of Parliament and failed to make a single gain anywhere – despite all the forecasts and speculation. The delivery of the Conservatives manifesto pledge to hold a referendum on our membership of the European Union and respect the result has somewhat dinted their ‘Unique Selling Point’. With the departure of the UK from the EU it is difficult for them to identify their USP now.

Then there is the problem of the leadership. Regardless of ones view of Nigel Farage few would doubt that he is a charismatic character and was the one person who the general public could be able to name as a UKIP politician. Since his most recent departure the leadership has been a problem. The election of Diane Evans lasted longer than her leadership. Her replacement Paul Nuttall (no relation) failed despite being leader in his bid to gain a seat in Parliament. One of their chief funders Aaron Banks has quit to form a new political party of his own and now a new loss. Their sole MP Douglas Carswell the MP for Clacton has resigned and has said he will sit as an independent. It is difficult to see how they are going to break out of this downward spiral.

B-Day

Talk of an early general election has been swirling around Westminster for some weeks now but the PM’s spokesman appeared to rule one out yesterday To be fair the Prime Minister has always said she intends to continue with the mandate given to the Conservatives less than two years ago and carry out the remaining pledges which were in the manifesto. Whilst the delivery of the manifesto is the main object of every government the government of Theresa May has of course another task the delivery of Brexit – respecting the outcome of the referendum on our membership of the European Union. It was announced yesterday that the official notification under Article 50 will be given a week tomorrow on March 29th. Meeting the PM’s longstanding promised deadline of the end of March. B-day – Brexit day – March 29th.

Yesterday the Prisons and Courts Bill was given an unopposed Second Reading and will now proceed to be considered in detail in a Public Bill Committee. Today, the main business is the remaining stages of the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill. I chaired the Committee stage of this Bill which reforms the law of unjustified or groundless threats as it applies to patents, trademarks and designs. Threats to sue for infringement are unjustified where they are made in respect of an invalid right or where there has been no infringement.

Prisons and Courts Bill

The main business in the House of Commons today is the Second Reading of the Prisons and Courts Bill which seeks to modernise the Courts and legal system by making it easier to use new technology, places a greater emphasis on rehabilitation of prisoners and seeks to restrict damages for whiplash and similar claims after road traffic accidents. I expect most of it to be welcomed on all sides but I have my reservations about Parliament interfering in the ability of civil Courts to award damages for injuries suffered as a result of the negligence of someone else. I appreciate the desire to stamp put fraudulent claims but there are already a number of measures in place to achieve this and I think further time should have been given to see if these measures were successful before taking further action. Whilst some people may exaggerate their injuries or make fraudulent claims it does not seem right to punish the majority because of the actions of the minority.

National Insurance Contributions

The Chancellor changed course on the plan announced in the budget to increase Class 4 National Insurance Contributions for the self-employed. The manifesto did not differentiate between the different classes of contribution. The fact that the Act of Parliament that was passed in order to apparently enshrine this manifesto commitment into law only referred to Class 1 contributions does not change the impression self-employed people quite rightly had in my view that an increase would break the clear manifesto pledge. It is very encouraging the Chancellor as so quickly recognised this and reversed the plan. There is a long-term problem about the tax base but the self employed do take risks and have a different level of protection to those who are employed and this has quite rightly been reflected in lower contributions. It should also be remembered that Class 2 National Insurance Contributions which are paid at a fixed rate are still being abolished so rather than being faced with an increase the self employed will see their contributions reduced thanks to the Conservatives. They will also pay less income tax as the personal allowance is increased.