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Ministers Hypocrits Over Planning Changes

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Development is fine as long as its not in one's backyard.

Ministers accused of 'hypocrisy' over relaxation of planning regulations

George Osborne and Eric Pickles are pushing for planning changes but oppose developments in their own constituencies

All the government ministers pushing through a controversial relaxation of planning regulations have opposed developments in their own constituencies, including new housing and businesses, a care home for elderly people and a memorial to Princess Diana.

The Guardian revelations leave the chancellor, George Osborne, and Eric Pickles and his ministers in the Department for Communities and Local Government accused of "breathtaking hypocrisy" for saying major changes to planning laws are vital to boost economic growth and ease the shortage of homes, while fighting such developments in their own backyards.

In August 2010, Osborne was the first of 25,000 people to sign a petition against an energy-from-waste plant in his Cheshire constituency, despite having described the company Brunner Mond as an "important local employer". He is also honorary president of a campaign against a second local incinerator. Pickles, the secretary of state for communities and local government, also campaigned against a waste facility, a composting site at Stondon Massey in his Essex constituency, saying approval would "open the doors for our county to become the waste dump for the south-east".

In addition, he successfully opposed a residential care home for 114 elderly people in Pilgrims Hatch in 2003, saying it would be a "heavy burden" on local services.

"This is hypocrisy of the highest order," said Craig Bennett, policy director of Friends of the Earth. "These ministers have used the planning system to stop developments like composting sites which are part of a sustainable economy. Now they are taking away the ability for people to oppose developments that are unsustainable. It is an outdated ideological mantra that a development free-for-all is needed for economic growth."


Edited by Silent Dancer
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Development is fine as long as its not in one's backyard.

Errm? They used the rules the same way everyone else would have had to if they wanted to be elected again. Now they want to change the rules so they don't have to/cannot do that again in the future, and nobody else can either. I would only call it hypocrisy if they bent the new rules past the breaking point when they themselves are affected.

Anyway, I really hope they have a sufficient backbone to push the changes through as their record is not exactly strong. We are already at the "there will be no u-turn" stage, so there is a good chance a u-turn is coming.

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