New Harborough MP slams ‘broken planning system’

Neil O'Brien.
Neil O'Brien.

Harborough’s new MP Neil O’Brien has criticised Britain’s ‘broken planning system’ in his first speech in the House of Commons.

He told fellow MPs that the system was weighted too heavily against councillors and communities, and in favour of builders and developers.

And he said the result was new estates built in the wrong places and without the proper infrastructure.

“My constituency is a place of beauty, a place of opportunity, and a place with a strong community, and I want to keep it that way” he said, in his maiden speech.

“To keep it beautiful, we have to start by reforming our broken planning system.

“We have made progress in recent years, and of course we must build more houses, but too often at the moment our planning system only builds resentment.

“It puts development in the wrong places and does not match new housing with the necessary infrastructure.”

He added: “Councillors and the community simply have too few powers relative to 
developers.”

Conservative MP Mr O’Brien backed Great Glen 
villagers in their unsuccessful attempt to stop a new 170-home estate off Oaks Road, Great Glen (see article on page 5). He told council planners: “The community in Great Glen have spent considerable time and effort in identifying other sites that are suitable for development. The Neighbourhood Plan says clearly this site is not suitable for development.”

After the decision, he said: “We need to change the law so that Neighbourhood Plans which are nearly complete have far more legal clout.”