Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham, has slammed the decision by government inspectors to allow a 40-house development at Thorpe Thewles to go ahead, as a “blatant disregard of local democracy”.
The decision, a result of an appeal lodged by the developers, was made by government planning inspectors on the grounds that such a development would not harm the character of the village – a view disputed by Alex, Stockton’s Planning Committee, and local residents. The appeal was also approved despite the inspector accepting that local amenities and transport links are severely limited.
Alex has also expressed his concern that the decision will set a precedent for other developers looking to build houses in Thorpe Thewles.
This is an appalling ruling with a remote government inspector riding roughshod over the decisions of local elected councillors who know their community. To suggest that there is adequate services, including buses – that the inspector readily accepts run infrequently – is a joke and I would question whether the inspector bothered to look properly at the evidence.
There is a serious flaw in the planning system, and begs the question of what the point of local planning committees are for if their decisions can be overturned so easily.