Gareth Johnson has hailed the decision of the Government not to intervene in the decision to expand Bluewater as a ‘victory for localism’ and says it reinforces the idea that local decisions need to be decided at a local not national level.
The decision to grant permission for a Bluewater expansion, taken by Dartford Borough Council, was contested by Gravesham Council. They subsequently appealed to the Government to “call in” the planning application and make a ruling on it themselves.
Gareth opposed this move and wrote to the Planning Minister to plead that the decision should be left at a local level and not determined in Whitehall. In a letter outlining his position, Planning Minister Nick Boles said that after careful consideration he was “satisfied that, whilst controversial, the application does not raise issues of the wider strategic or policy nature envisaged by the call-in policy.” He also emphasised that “We remain committed to giving more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues, and believe that planning decisions should be made at the local level wherever possible.”
Gareth has expressed his delight at the decision that ensures that local people will determine whether Bluewater can have planning permission to expand.
Gareth commented further that;
“I was surprised that Gravesham Council objected to Bluewater’s expansion and that they had asked for Central Government to decide on the issue instead of local people. Whitehall should not interfere with local decisions like this. I am therefore really pleased that the Government has rejected this request and pleased that local people will retain the power to decide on local issues in Dartford. Bluewater’s expansion should be welcomed. It will bring thousands of new jobs to the area and allow Bluewater’s success story to continue”
When completed, the Bluewater expansion is expected to create over 2000 new jobs at the retail park.