Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee has written to Secretary of State Michael Gove regarding the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.
His letter flagged a number of concerns with the Bill and directed Mr Gove to a legal briefing written by Paul Brown QC and Alex Shattock. He also sent Mr Gove a copy of the legal briefing.
The briefing was commissioned by Leigh Day for the NGO Rights: Community: Action, whom Paul and Alex represented in the Court of Appeal and Divisional Court challenging Class E and Permitted Development regulation.
The letter from the Chair said:
“During our discussions, I raised that there have been comments that the Bill contains provisions which amount to centralisation of the planning system. I also referred to a legal opinion, produced by Paul Brown Q.C. and Alex Shattock, Landmark Chambers, on the instruction of Rights: Community: Action.
I said that I would write to you about this. Therefore, it would be helpful to have the Department’s comments on the key points summarised in the opinion as follows….”
The letter goes on to set out a number of issues flagged in the briefing, including the fact that the Bill “radically centralises planning decision-making and substantially erodes public participation in the planning system.”
The full letter to Michael Gove is here.
Paul and Alex also represented Friends of the Earth at the Cumbria Coal Mine inquiry, which is currently on Michael Gove’s desk for a decision. The issue of domestic coal supply was recently raised in Prime Minister’s Questions.