Potton councillor launches national campaign to protect the countryside

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A Potton councillor has launched a national petition against rural over-development that has attracted 5,000 signatures in just five days.

Independent Cllr Adam Zerny has also brought together more than 50 campaigning groups from across the country to form a national alliance against over-development, called All 4 Better Development.

The move comes after campaigners against plans for development off Mill Lane in Potton were approved by Central Bedfordshire planners this month.

Cllr Zerny said the sheer number of planning applications around Potton had inspired him to take action.

He said: “Hundreds of people in Potton have been fighting against planning and we’re seeing applications for 750 houses in a town of just 1,900 houses.

“There is no new infrastructure and Central Beds Council appear powerless to stop the applications.

“I spoke to other groups around the country and they were all saying the same thing.

“They knew there needed to be new houses just not on the scale proposed by the Government and by local authorities”.

The groups involved include Potton Residents for Sustainable Growth.

Mr Zerny called upon other groups to come forward and for residents to sign the petition.

The petition can be viewed at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/177333 and has received nationwide support totally 3,000 signatures a day.

It’s currently the fastest moving petition on the Parliament website.

At present a town or village has no right of appeal against a developer or local authority and can only turn to a costly legal challenge in the form of a Judicial Review.

The petition calls for a ‘community right of appeal’ and the end to the ‘presumption in favour of sustainable development’ which is a piece of Government legislation which means if a local authority cannot prove it has a 5 year supply of housing, they cannot block developments.

The campaign has seen support on social media from MP Nicholas Soames and Shaun Spiers, Chief Executive of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, says Cllr Zerny.

He said a number of groups have come forward to join the alliance in the last few days.

“All the groups involved are listed on the website all4betterdevelopment.uk but there are many more areas affected, in Bedfordshire and beyond. We’d love to have more involved. Contact us at all4betterdevelopment.gmail”