At the end of March, a delegation from the Three Rivers Joint Residents’ Association (TRJRA), including our Planning Lead Jon Bishop, met with the new Housing Minister Stuart Andrew at the Houses of Parliament. Local MP’s, Dean Russell and Gagan Mohindra were also there.  The TRJRA delegation found the meeting very positive.

  • The Minister clearly understood our concerns about losing Green Belt in the TRDC Local Plan, caused by the housing targets. He confirmed that TRDC can submit a plan which justifies fewer new houses than the Standard Methodology, to reflect constraints on land availability such as Green Belt and Heritage Areas. 
  • Crucially, the Minister promised to consider changing the Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) document, which is used by Planning Officers & Inspectors, to make it clear that such a reduction in the Standard Methodology housing number to protect Green Belt is both within the rules and part of the process. This will properly align the PPG with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), removing a stumbling block for TRDC at the moment. 
  • The Minister strongly believes in Localism and the need to involve local communities in decision making. This includes the importance of proper consideration of Neighbourhood Plans and their polices when deciding local planning applications.

Our local MP’s will follow up on our meeting with the Minister including, if necessary, asking questions in Parliament, the responses to which will then be formally documented.