Greg Clark MP unveils government plans to reduce planning red tape


Harry Teacher says many small rural businesses don't have the resources or time to negotiate the planning process

Bank Farm livery yard near Tonbridge currently has an indoor riding school and stabling for 29 horses.

Due to increasing demand, the owner Harry Teacher was keen to expand his rural business.

But he says after spending months on his planning application and more than £5,000 in costs he was thwarted by red tape and permission was refused.

The government's draft planning policy, which was announced by the Planning Minister and MP for Tunbridge Wells Greg Clark, and has just been published, promises to be less cumbersome and give local people greater control.

Reducing red tape

Greg Clark says the new framework will be:

  • localist in its approach, handing power back to local communities to decide what is right for them;
  • user-friendly and accessible, providing clear policies on making robust local and neighbourhood plans and development management decisions.
Greg Clark, MP and Planning Minister Greg Clark hopes the planning system will become less cumbersome

But the Country Land and Business Association, the organisation which represents landowners and rural businesses, says the draft policy is too cautious and doesn't address the lack of rural housing or sustainable jobs.

Jonathan Roberts from the CLA says: "Planning plays a huge role in encouraging sustainable economic development in the South East, and this means national planning policy must encourage a broader, sustainable rural economy that goes further than just leisure and tourism."

And he says the problems faced by the stable's owner are far from unique in the South East.

Harry Teacher remains optimistic and says he will try again to get permission to expand his stables - but he's aware many other small rural businesses simply won't have the resources or time to negotiate the often complicated planning process.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    This is a very poor report. Why didn’t the reporter tell viewers why the application for planning permission was rejected? Why was the applicant not asked to explain what the ‘red tape’ was that he objected to? Why was the planning authority not asked for their comments on the case? It does seem to be a very one sided article.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    I believe that letting local councils make decisions on planning is one of the worst mistakes the government will make in the change in the planning laws , If you live in Cornwall where I live in North Helford ,its like a club for the metally impaired , and goes upwards into the County council , you want to build a house ,not unless you have friends on the council especially in Mawnan Smith

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    I am a leading British entrepreneur employing hundreds. I have had 20 years of planning nightmares - that is half a lifetime! It has actually not only damaged business and jobs growth - it has actually made me completely sceptical of the planning system. Planning is often a barrier to growth and jobs.I have seen inconsistency, slowness, vindictiveness, ignorance - instead of help - barriers!

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Given the current state of Surrey CC they need money fast, they also turn a "blind eye" to Green Belt, as is seen in the recent decisions in Spelthorne and the un Eco Park, the blatent disregard of the community in relation to Parking meters. Surrey CC do not have a consistent policy on planning, except when it is to their benefit, then it is always passed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    It's not a riding school and it will simply be adding to existing farm buildings, totally in keeping with the buildings which are already there - and you won't be able to see it from the road.


Comments 5 of 6



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