The Planning Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, has written to East Staffordshire Borough Council to urge them to hold the referendum on the Neighbourhood Development Plan for Rolleston.
Rolleston’s Neighbourhood Plan was signed off by an independent examiner more than a year ago, and despite the Parish Council writing to East Staffordshire Borough Council in May requesting the next step of a referendum on the plan, the Borough Council has not allowed the plan to go forward for a referendum.
In his letter, which is in response to an email from Borough Council Chief Executive Andy O’Brien, the Minister says: “… the local planning authority should take a proactive and positive approach, working collaboratively with a qualifying body and fulfil its duty and take decisions as soon as possible…. I would encourage you to work with the Parish Council to reach agreement on a way forward without further delay.”
Burton’s MP Andrew Griffiths said: “This letter is a huge embarrassment for East Staffordshire Borough Council. In the last week the Secretary of State overturned a planning application and supported the Rolleston Neighbourhood Plan, and now the Planning Minister has made clear the Council’s delays are unacceptable.
“Rather than grumbling to the Minister, it is time East Staffordshire Borough Council accepted they are in the wrong and gave Rolleston the referendum.
“The way East Staffordshire Borough Council have handled the Local Plan is quite frankly a shambles. The Labour administration have been in control for a year and they still haven’t got a plan in place. These delays leave Burton and Uttoxeter open to speculative planning applications from developers. Rather than having a strong defence in place, the Borough Council are giving an open goal to developers.”