EVEN before the lockdown High Streets across the country were struggling.

Since then online shopping and online working have experienced major increases.

It is therefore highly likely that there will be less use of office space in our town centres and fewer shops.

If we are to keep our High Streets lively there may be a need to change the use of significant numbers of buildings in town centres to residential use.

If that is to happen it needs careful thought by people who know the locality and who represent the community.

That is what a local planning committee is supposed to be there to do.

Yet reports have emerged that Dominic Cummings wants to get rid of local decision making on changes like this. He is reported to be seeking to rush through amendments to legislation that would allow developers to change the use of any building in town centres without any need to apply for planning permission.

Regulations and local controls over what is built may be inconvenient for those who wish to make a quick profit but they are a very important method of allowing local people and their local representatives to have a serious influence over what happens to the buildings in the community that they care most about and know most about.

People from all political perspectives need to put pressure on the government to ensure that the powers of local planning committees aren’t further eroded.

National decision making about local town centres is not a good idea.

Cllr Andy Brown, Green Party , Cononley