Welcome to Bennett's World: a collection of articles and references covering a wide variety of topics in which I am involved. I am a very political person but I have no allegiance to any political party. Follow me on twitter @colinhove

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Local Threat to Protected Landscape

An interest of mine is the protection of our countryside and the best parts of our towns. We used to have in the UK a relatively progressive method of protecting sensitive areas by means of planning control and the need to get planning permission for controversial proposals. In recent years protection afforded by the legislation has been weakened especially by the present Government. Regrettably there is now naked 'political' intervention to overturn decisions taken by the respected and neutral Planning Inspectorate. Perhaps the worst case is that of the proposal to locate a football stadium in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) at Falmer in East Sussex between Brighton and Lewes. After two comprehensive Planning Inquiries which gave the 'wrong' answer, John Prescott in his capacity as Overall Planning Minister ignored due process and gave the go ahead for this desecration. Brighton & Hove City Council, the Sussex newspaper The Argus and developers claiming to speak for football fans displayed great bias and vitriol in promoting the development. To their great credit, Falmer Parish Council and Lewes District Council have taken the matter to the High Court in London to uphold the law. They have been supported morally and with money by principled conservation bodies. The Press Release issued by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) sums up the situation well. Those who support their stance are encouraged to write to the media of their choice eg the main newspapers. The Royal Town Planning Institute has betrayed its principles by crazily supporting the urbanisation of Falmer. ### ### From the CPRE Press Release 30 August 2006 SUSSEX (building scheme) Status of threat: permission granted; subject to legal challenge Brighton and Hove Albion F.C Football Stadium and transport interchange at Falmer within Sussex Downs AONB (due to be confirmed as a new National Park). It would also have an adverse impact on Stanmer Historic Park and associated ancient woodland. The matter will proceed to the High Court on 5 and 6 December 2006. CPRE fought the planning proposals through two planning inquiries over six years and welcomed the challenge to Mr. Prescott’s decision. Other possible sites for the new stadium, that will not have adverse impacts on the designated landscape, should now be considered.


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