MPs Raise Concerns Over Planning Notices

MPs have raised concerns about proposals to remove planning notices from local newspapers which could see millions of people missing out on vital information that affects their environment.

Following the launch of the Planning for the Future white paper earlier this year, the News Media Association warned that scrapping the requirement for public notices to be published in local papers would lead to a more secretive, less open government.

Removing planning notices from local papers would undermine the longstanding partnership between local councils and local papers which enables planning notices to be communicated to audiences through local media’s print and digital channels, the NMA has said.

MPs are also very concerned about the financial impact of the move on local journalism as the industry faces unprecedented challenges to its business model from the activities of the tech giants and the sharp downturn in ad revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  

MPs have tabled written parliamentary questions for Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick this week asking about the potential impact of removing the notices on local journalism.  

Julian Sturdy, Conservative MP for York Outer, asked, “what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the removal of the statutory requirement to publicise planning applications in local newspapers on (a) transparency and (b) local accountability in the planning process.”

In another written question Sir Christopher Chope, Conservative MP for Christchurch, asked,”what regulatory impact assessment he has carried out on the proposal to remove statutory requirements for planning applications to be publicised in local newspapers; and if he will make a statement.”

The deadline for responses to the Planning for the Future consultation is 29 October and the Changes to the Current Planning System consultation closes on 1 October.