MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

BY the time many people come to read this a public inquiry into the infamous Fylde travellers site up in Hardhorn will be well underway.

It’s been a hugely controversial subject and one I have received a huge number of emails and letters on since the election in May.

Countless breaches of planning regulations have been reported by worried local people and complaints about anti-social behaviour, noise disruption and traffic issues are very common.

The situation has also clearly worried people from other parts of the borough many of whom have written to me to ask what measures the Government are taking to prevent this situation from happening again in the future, perhaps near their homes.

And I am pleased to say that when it comes to putting in place protections against retrospective planning development, the Government are delivering on their promises.

The Decentralisation and Localism Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, gives councils the power to decline to accept a retrospective planning application – an application to develop land submitted after the development has already taken place without permission – if the land is subject to a planning enforcement notice.

This is a significant change and would severely limit people’s ability to flout the rules.

It won’t make a difference to the application up at Hardhorn and I know there is still a long and, no doubt frustrating, road ahead for all concerned with this matter.

However, the Government are looking and listening and, most importantly, acting on people’s concerns.

Although my parliamentary duties have prevented me from attending the inquiry I have kept up to date with its progress and will continue to keep a close eye on this issue.

On an unrelated note I had the pleasure of meeting with staff and students from Carr Hill High School in Kirkham this week who were in Westminster for an educational tour.

The House of Commons’ excellent tour staff do a wonderful job and make for a truly fascinating experience.

I would urge other schools to follow suit.

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