THE Council for the Protection of Rural England in Wiltshire has given a warm welcome to news that the Government is being recommended to rethink its proposals to relax planning regulations to allow further development.

The House of Commons housing, communities and local government committee recommended a re-think of certain aspects of the proposals, backed by better evidence and further detail.

Its members said they were “unpersuaded” by the government’s proposed approach, under which different planning rules would apply depending on whether land was ‘zoned’ for growth, renewal or protected purposes.

The move - which Ministers argued would “help us build the homes our country desperately needs” – followed a backlash from Tory MPs and voters in the south of England.

The CPRE says that instead, local communities should be put in charge of planning affordable homes and protecting the environment.

Commenting, Anne Henshaw, Chair of CPRE Wiltshire, said: "On the face of it, it looks like very welcome news particularly the binning of the top down developers' charter.

"But the devil will be in the detail and the CPRE will be monitoring any news information coming out.

"We need to have places for people to live and work but these need to be done sustainably and with local communities at the centre of those decisions.

"We know from our involvement with decisions such as the 7,500 homes planned in Chippenham and the A350 proposals that local communities both want and need to be heard and must have a say in local decision making.

"Brownfield sites must be developed first to help protect local green spaces and our Green Belts which are vital in the fight against climate change but also so important for our physical and mental health."

Tom Fyans, deputy chief executive of CPRE, the countryside charity, said: "This decision by Ministers is a victory for common sense and local campaigners all across the country who just wanted a proper say on the needs of their communities and how their area should be developed.

"We look forward to working with the government on creating a planning system that puts the needs of local communities ahead of developer's profits."

The forthcoming Planning Bill, which is due to go before parliament later this year, could remove major planning reforms proposed by the Government in its planning White Paper last summer.