The Localism Bill seeks to provide a platform for claiming that power over development will be given to local people. This is a sham. The only power that locals will have will be to force elected representatives to authorise development where otherwise they might not have done so.
Advocates of the Localism Bill point to the idea of residents in a neighbourhood creating their own plan. This is then supposedly used to guide development in the neighbourhood. However, there is a problem if the neighbourhood plan does not conform to the vision that we are being sold by Westminster. The vision that there should be an automatic presumption in favour of 'sustainable growth' (whatever that means) and that this is a right and proper thing for us to accept. If the neighbourhood plan calls for a policy based on a 'steady state' approach to development where housing is built strictly for local need, for industrial development to provide real employment opportunity to aid the local economy and for the environmental considerations of issues such, as 'infill', to be given a higher priority, the plan will be ignored anyway.
Nevertheless, I believe that neighbourhoods should produce plans. If enough plans are ignored in favour of lining developers' pockets then maybe it will give the lie to the whole spurious claim that Westminster wants to give real power to local communities.
With all of this in mind I approached the Chairman of Illogan Parish Council, Cllr David Ekinsmyth with a view to commencing the process of creating a local neighbourhood plan. Unfortunately for Illogan, Cllr Ekinsmyth believes that it is best to wait until the County (sic) has produced its plan for the Camborne, Pool, Illogan and Redruth area and to see if it conflicts with the small section on planning contained within Illogan's Parish Plan.
The 'County' has already expressed that planning strategies will be based on unsustainably high population growth (even at the lowest option). It is hard, therefore, to see how their plans and policies can possibly do anything but conflict with what I believe the people of Illogan and, indeed, most of Cornwall want - a breathing space in growth to rebuld communities and allow the people of Cornwall to sort out the mess that Westminster has made.