AS a member of the Craven District Council’s Planning Committee, I am only too well aware of the frustrations and limitations local councillors face in making decisions on planning matters.

At times I despair when common sense decisions are not permitted, indeed the phrase ‘we are caught over a barrel’ has been uttered in meetings.

We have an obligation to reconcile the interests of local residents; the desperate need for affordable homes, and the pressures from builders who naturally want to make a profit from their business. And, all the time we are more than aware that our powers are limited and that frustrated developers, and individuals, can always appeal to the minister (Planning Inspectorate).

I was thus interested to hear that the Housing Secretary - Robert Jenrick - was to announce a new planning system aimed at addressing the fact that "a complex planning system has been a barrier to building homes that people need”.

However, I fear that the proposals in this White Paper will not address the problems that we face here in Craven.

A major concern is the scrapping of 106 agreements , by which developers provide money earmarked for affordable housing and local amenities. (The charity) Shelter states that “ these (106 agreements) are,tragically one of the only ways we will get social homes built these days ,due to lack of direct government investment, so it

makes no sense to remove this route to genuinely affordable homes”.

The Labour leader - Keir Starmer - slammed the plans for saying nothing about affordable housing, adding:” In fact it (the White paper) removes the initiatives that were there for affordable housing”.

I am not alone in expressing grave concerns regarding this latest White Paper.

The Royal Institute of British Architects have described the new government plans as “shameful” and said the proposals would do" almost nothing to guarantee the delivery of affordable ,well designed and sustainable homes.”

Added to this is the commitment to ensure that all homes are carbon neutral has been deferred to 2050!

There is plenty more within these plans to cause concern and despair, suffice to say, far from giving local residents and their elected representatives a greater say in planning matters these will take away what little say we have at present ,it could almost be a case of saying ‘Yes ‘ or ‘Of course’

This is not just an opportunity missed but a major setback for those of us committed to a better and more balanced planning system.

Cllr Chris Rose

(Labour, Skipton West)