PUBLIC opposition to proposed government planning reforms has been declared by Cheshire West councillors.

Members passed a motion at last night’s full council meeting which resolves to ‘support local residents to establish Neighbourhood Forums in unparished areas’.

It also asks leaders to ‘write to the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government to express concerns and seek assurances that the reforms will put local people first and local communities front and centre of reforms’.

The motion was proposed by Labour’s Cllr Christine Warner and Liberal Democrat Cllr Paul Roberts.

Cllr Warner introduced the item by saying: “The planning system would benefit from reform but I am sure I am not the only councillor who has misgivings about certain elements of the white paper.

“We can have our say [on the reforms] until October 29 [via a public consultation].

“This is our opportunity to fashion the future of planning. If the government ignores these responses they will do so at their peril.”

CWAC will also support residents in establishing Neighbourhood Forums in unparished areas, in order to ‘give back some degree of control to local communities and ensure that they have at least as much force as at present’.

The proposed changes come in the form of two government white papers, which claim to make the planning process more open, rules-based, and encourage more development.