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Judicial review 'crackdown' welcomed by planning chiefs in Gloucestershire

By The Citizen  |  Posted: November 20, 2012

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A CRACKDOWN on "time wasting" challenges to planning decisions has been welcomed by council bosses.

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised new policies as part of efforts to boost economic recovery.

Opponents to planning applications will be given less time to apply for judicial review, face higher fees and see the chances to appeal halved.

Downing Street said it was aimed at making people "think twice about time-wasting" after judicial review application numbers rose from 160 in 1975 to 11,200 last year.

It was a move embraced by councils in Gloucestershire.

Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council, said: "You've to strike a balance between giving people an opportunity to have their say through the democratic process but also not allowing people to unnecessarily frustrate plans when they have been through that process."

He cited the recent battle over the replacement of the bandstand in Gloucester Park as a prime example.

At Stroud District Council, a spokesman said judicial reviews are often used to delay a council decision.

"The Government's intention to look into this practice is to be welcomed, and we look forward to hearing more in due course," he said.

Pete Williams, head of planning and housing at Forest of Dean District Council, said: "Both investors and the public want certainty about what is going to happen in any given area and legal challenges which focus on the technical processes of determination rather than the merit of the proposal can be confusing."

However, the Campaign to Protect Rural England said it will make it harder for people "to take a democratic role in the planning process".

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  • FreeRadical1  |  November 21 2012, 4:50PM

    Bonkim, don't you listen to Radio 4? Planning-related judicial reviews have been dropping for years. Nowadays, three quarters of all judicial reviews are asylum-related or immigration-related. This is all about reducing opposition to big business developments and making money for the people who fund the Tory Party.

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  • Alphonso2  |  November 20 2012, 10:27AM

    Don't be fooled into thinking this is just about planning. This is just a part of the Tory crackdown on democracy by raising the cost of access to the law. The rich will still have the wealth to go to judicial review

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  • Bonkim2003  |  November 20 2012, 8:50AM

    Great! liberating from the clutches of the thousands of pages of the previous planning regulations - simplifying and giving the individual greater certainty.

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