Conservation group raises planning fears

The group is concerned that Local Enterprise Partnerships may 'rule the roost'
The group is concerned that Local Enterprise Partnerships may 'rule the roost'

A conservation group has warned democratically-controlled town and country planning in the county is under threat.

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) says urgent action is needed, claiming Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) will increasingly “rule the roost”.

It claims they are promoting the interests of themselves and their members in the process.

CPRE Warwickshire published a detailed report in which it claims unelected bodies are “quietly taking over town and country planning”.

The report followed what CPRE said was detailed research into the conduct and mode of operating of the Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and its neighbour the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP.

Mark Sullivan of CPRE said: “This report makes depressing reading.

“If the trend continues our councillors will find that they have little power to influence planning policy, or the scale of development.”

In response, Chris Wightman, vice-chairman of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s planning and housing business group, said: “The LEP was created to help drive forward the economy of the area.

“That takes on many facets of work, and we do have, among several others, a planning and housing business Group to discuss growth and strategy.

“The LEP has no planning powers at all, but we do have an interest in Coventry and Warwickshire moving forward with common aims and objectives and thereby helping the economy grow.”