Planning - CAPITA

7th November 2018

As many of my constituents will know, I have taken a strong interest in local planning in the years since becoming an MP back in 2010.

That’s why I read with interest the article in yesterday’s EDP about Breckland Council’s contract with CAPITA, and its failure to deliver the efficiencies and services expected.

Contracting CAN work, but as yesterday’s article highlighted, I share the deep concern felt by many in our area about CAPITA. Indeed, having worked with councillors on all of the case studies referenced within my constituency, I have seen first-hand how CAPITA’s handling of planning matters has further undermined public trust in an already broken planning system.

CAPITA do not have enough LOCAL knowledge, or a feel, of our area. To them, the Breckland contract is just that. A contract. And their staff appear to advise both applicants and councils across the country – concerning many that there could be a major conflict of interests.

As we all know here in Mid Norfolk, planning is about much more than simple business. It’s about valuing the local community and landscape, and ensuring that growth serves and enhances the towns and villages already here – as well as the lives of those people who move into the new homes.

Next month, I am taking a group of local councillors to Westminster to meet with the Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse MP, and explain to him why we need to reform the planning system (and, particularly, the Five Year Housing Land Supply Rule) to strengthen ‘Localism’ – by giving local communities a stronger voice in determining where future growth goes, and what shape it will take.

Rest assured, I remain determined to support local councillors and communities – and I shall be continuing to monitor the CAPITA contract closely.

EDP article

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