Saturday, 20 January 2007

We read it there first - Steve Webb's blog and the Sustainable Communities Bill

Blogging is a good way of keeping people up to date. Yesterday Steve Webb's blog reported the debate on the Sustainable Communities Bill at least an hour before it was reported on Radio 4.

This Private Member's Bill, which has wide cross-party support, aims to give communities powers to tackle issues like the closure of post offices and independent shops, and threats to build on valued green spaces.

To take one example, between 1999 and 2004 no fewer than 3700 post offices closed - that's one in five. Many closed because the Government took services away and made them uneconomic. Other local post offices closed because the shops they were in were taken over by big supermarket chains that didn't want to run post offices. Now the Government is talking about closing up to another 2500.

But will the Government give this bill parliamentary time, or will they kill it off? (like they did with the recent bill to bring mobile phone masts under normal planning controls) - we'll have to see.

To read more about the Sustainable Communities Bill, click here.

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