‘Take It or Leave It’ Vote No Substitute for Proper Democratic Scrutiny on LDP
The Welsh Lib Dem Group on Powys County Council is warning the people of the county that the new Council elected in May will face a ‘take it or leave it’ vote on the final version of the county’s Local Development Plan (LDP), unless the Council’s current Cabinet agrees to give all councillors more opportunities to debate it, before it goes in to its Examination phase before a Planning Inspector.
Recent late changes to the Plan showed vast areas of upland Powys identified as potentially suitable areas for wind and solar energy ‘farms’ (Local Search Areas or LSAs), causing fury among local communities.
Group Leader, Cllr James Gibson-Watt, challenged the Council’s Cabinet at a recent meeting to stop blaming Welsh Government for somehow forcing the Council to produce the LSA maps and admit it has been “the author of its own misfortune”.
Cllr Gibson-Watt said:
“The Council did not have to employ a consultant with close links to the power generation industry; nor did it have to ignore the constraints, such as potential grid connectivity and landscape quality, when producing the draft LSAs.”
“While I am pleased that those constraints will now be considered when further work is done on the LDP, it should have happened before the draft LSAs were first produced.”
Cllr Gibson-Watt also warned the Cabinet that its assurances that the new County Council will have a vote on the final LDP draft were not worth much, as it would be a ‘take it or leave it’ vote, with the new Council “no doubt to be warned that failing to agree the final draft would cause ‘the sky to fall on our heads’”.
Commenting after the meeting, Cllr Gibson-Watt said:
“The Cabinet has achieved a veritable double-whammy by producing LSA maps that are completely unrealistic, while at the same time greatly annoying huge numbers of Powys residents and communities. It is clear that all Council members and the public need to be fully involved at every step through the rest of this process if the LDP is to have any credibility with the public it is supposed to serve.”
Date - 20/01/17