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'People power' underpins Tory planning reforms

The Tories have said they would give local communities greater influence in how their neighbourhoods are developed if they are successful at the general election

The decision to shift focus away from the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) towards local residents has been made to rid the process of unnecessary red tape and ‘centralised micromanagement’, which the party says will allow people to ‘shape their surroundings’.

Under a Conservative government, the IPC would be mothballed in favour of a national planning framework, which will draw on the IPC’s expertise while allowing communities to create their own policies.

The party’s planning green paper, to be unveiled later this month, states that permission for new developments would be granted automatically if a ‘significant majority of immediate neighbours’ raise no objection to the proposals.

Major infrastructure undertakings such as rail improvements would require hybrid or private bills in order for them to be approved.

The new framework will also curb the extent of the appeal process in a bid to encourage new developments and reduce the influence of bureaucracy in the planning process.

The party said the new plans will be based on a ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ for schemes that meet national standards, conform to new-look local plans and offer tariff payments.

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