Row erupts over Stockton homes scheme as motion lodged calling for Government to change planning rules (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Stockton council lodges motion to change Government's planning rules
A ROW has erupted over just who is to blame for a decision to allow the building of hundreds of homes across south Stockton.
A leading Labour councillor has lodged a motion calling on Stockton Borough Council to appeal to the Government to change its planning rules after approval was given to build more than 2,000 homes.
The motion is supported by council leader Bob Cook, but James Wharton, Conservative MP for Stockton South, says the authority is “playing politics” and said the council was to blame.
The scheme includes 350 homes at Morley Carr Farm, 370 at Green Lane, a retirement village, including a 100-bed home and 350 houses at Mount Leven, all in Yarm, and more than 800 homes on the old Ministry of Defence site at Allens West, in Eaglescliffe. Another plan to build hundreds of more homes at Urlay Nook will be debated next month.
Campaign group, Save Stockton South (SSS), was formed in opposition to the plans and a 2,500-signature petition calling for a debate about Stockton council’s planning department has been accepted by the authority and will be held in the coming weeks.
Now the motion from Billingham councillor, Michael Smith, calling on the Government to change rules under the National Planning Policy Framework, has been lodged and will be debated on Wednesday, November 6.
The motion states: "This council calls on the Conservative-led Government to urgently review its National Planning Policy Framework which effectively removes planning control from local authorities and communities and places it in the hands of private developers.”
Speaking in support, Coun Cook said: “We will asking our MPs to support this motion which has already won the support of a lot of people in the area, including Yarm Town Council.”
However, Conservative MP, Mr Wharton, hit out saying: “This is a nakedly political attempt to pass blame. They should stop playing politics with this issue.”
And the motion has not gone down well with the campaigners within SSS.
Sandra McLeavy, a leading member of the organisation, said: “The council has attempted a stage-managed stunt.
"The sudden clamour for the motion on the NPPF is, we believe, designed to undermine our petition which was about the public’s lack of confidence in the council’s planning committee and planning process, not the NPPF.”
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