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Chorley Council condemns the Secretary of State's intention to bypass local planning decision making and designation of the authority under Section 62A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990

Town Hall red arrows

The Secretary of State, Michael Gove MP announced on 19 December that Chorley Council has been designated in relation to performance in major planning applications, which he considers have been too many applications refused by Chorley's Planning Committee.

Chorley Council is astonished by the decision, which ignores the numerous meetings held and letters sent over years from Chorley Council and the MP for Chorley, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, to explain to the government the negative impact that their changes to the planning rules have had on the borough.

Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council said, "We are utterly appalled by the decision to designate Chorley for standing up against speculative and unplanned developments.

"The Council, with the support from the MP for Chorley, have time and time again tried to highlight the issues Chorley is facing when it comes to planning, and to make it clear how the government's changes to the planning rules have had a negative effect on our communities.

"Multiple letters have been sent, meetings have been held and while we seem to have convinced government of the need for change - as they have at last published the new national planning rules - as a final kick in the teeth, they have decided to punish Chorley for standing up for local interests.

"We've been really honest with people that we have been fighting speculative development with one hand tied behind our back. We are not anti-development - far from it - we just think it should be locally led.

"This is proven by our consistent and continual homebuilding in line with government policy, figures which are unreasonably higher than our neighbouring areas.

"Fellow councillors and I along with the MP for Chorley have met with the Secretary of State and his staff and urge him to rethink his decision.

"We'll share more information on our website as it comes to us."

Under designation, eligible major planning applicants can go directly to the Secretary of State at which point the Planning Inspectorate will handle the applications on their behalf.

This would bypass the local democratically elected decision-making powers of the Chorley Planning Committee.

More information here.


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