The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill is currently passing through Parliament.

It may sound innocuous and obscure but it could have a serious effect on our ability to influence future developments in our area.

The Bill will make changes to regional planning that could make it even harder for local people and communities to engage in the planning process.

This is really serious, as the Government currently has a target to build three million new homes by 2020.

Regional plans are used to decide where these new houses should be built.

Once these targets are signed off by central Government, local councils are required to make sufficient land available to enable these houses to be built, even if the regional targets are not achievable.

With the current recession, the numbers of houses the Government wants to see won’t get built, and developers will only pick the cheapest and easiest sites to build on.

With such high targets, councils will be forced to let them build wherever they want, regardless of any negative social, economic or environmental impacts.

While there is a need for more affordable homes, research by organisations such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England has shown that just building more and more houses doesn’t make them more affordable.

There needs to be targeted action to build affordable homes where they are needed most.

Changes need to be made to the Bill so people are guaranteed a chance to influence what development happens where they live.

If this is to be achieved, it is essential that people write to their MPs to call for changes to the Bill. Go to to find out more.

Christine Wood, Haroldslea Close, Horley