CONTROVERSIAL planning reforms which would have given the public less say on developments in their area have been ditched, reports suggest while the housing secretary has been replaced on Boris Johnson’s cabinet.

Secretary of state for housing communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick was sacked from the Prime Minister’s cabinet this week and replaced by Michael Gove.

The move follows reports that controversial planning reforms in the forthcoming Planning Bill have been scrapped.

Councils across the country have expressed concerns about the relaxation in planning rules contained in the bill which grants automatic permission to developments in priority growth areas.

Reforms also include the introduction of an algorithm to calculate the number of new homes that need to be built in communities to meet the Government’s 300,000 new homes per year target.

Copeland Borough Councillor Joseph Ghayouba said: “It’s good to see that they do understand that councils should be listened to and heard. Anyone that becomes an elected official at local level knows, usually the most contentious side of it is planning applications.”

“It’s great news for localism and it also shows that contrary to Mr Starkie’s assertions; motions and letters to government do have an impact.

“We weren’t the only council who passed a motion on planning reform. It received cross party support up and down the country at local and MP level. And a minister has lost his job over it.”

Labour councillors successfully proposed another motion last week opposing the cut to Universal Credit.

The motion called on elected Mayor Mike Starkie to write to Government, expressing Copeland Borough Council’s stance against the cut.

But Mr Starkie who abstained said: “The priority of local councillors should be local issues that they can influence for the benefit of residents not playing National Politics over which they have little or no influence, that is the role of National Party politicians, it’s therefore disappointing the Copeland Labour group choose to play national political games while taking little or no interest in the council agenda items that directly affect the area they represent.”

The Government’s controversial planning reforms have been blamed for recent by-election losses.

Councillor Ghayouba said: “He (Boris Johnson) has appointed new people to sit on the CCHQ and learn from the elections they lost most recently in Batley and Spen and Amersham.”