A COUNTRYSIDE charity has written to all five MPs in Wiltshire ahead of the second reading of the proposed Levelling Up Bill.

The Government says the paper summarises the steps it is taking to "devolve power and give local leaders and communities the tools they need to make better places".

It hopes the bill will bring "an ambitious programme" to reduce inequality and close the gap in productivity, health, incomes, and opportunity between much of the southeast and the rest of the country.

But CPRE Wiltshire says the bill risks eroding democracy and enabling a power grab by central government.

In a submission to MPs, the charity argues that consultation and public involvement in planning decisions could be undermined by the proposed new National Development Management Policies.

It says that, in effect, this would mean national policies could override the wishes of local groups and their Neighbourhood Plans.

The letter also takes aim at proposed ‘Street Votes’ for planning decisions, saying: “This seems to encourage local street groups to become both judge and jury which is against the other parts of the planning system and would be in potential conflict with Neighbourhood Plans.”