I have recently received notification that a next door neighbour is selling his garden to property developers. This is in the outline planning permission (OPP) stage. I wrote to the planning office stating objections about non conformity to the Unitary Development Plan (UDP - an enthralling 270 page document ) and also stating land irregularities. The applicant does not own a strip of land to which he wishes to place a vehicular access. It is council owned and is deemed as "open plan". I was shocked to receive the reply that the OPP was approved. This decision was taken by the planning committee (a group of 20 or so councillors), and bizarrely enough the applicants agent is an ex councillor. The current planning system is heavily stacked in favour of the private sector developer who have the professional expertise and resources to dominate the local planning process. It is grossly unfair that those who apply for planning permission have a privileged right to appeal against a local council when their application is refused. Individuals and communities who object have no such right. This imbalance reinforces the impression of the planning system as closed, remote and interested only in reinforcing the power of those with substantial property interests. Under current legislation, there is no third party right of appeal. (The first party is the applicant, the second party is the local authority and the third parties are the neighbouring properties.) Recent Government initiatives are introducing white papers to simplify the process for supermarkets to build out of town. The planning applicants have the right of appeal all the way to the Secretary of State, whilst third parties have no rights whatsoever. The cards are clearly stacked in favour of the property developer. The only option open to third parties are submission to the Parliamentary Ombudsman and Judicial Review. The latter is a very expensive option. To introduce a hypothetical situation, if Councillors palms have been "greased" at the planning committee stage, even at judicial review, the planning decision remains in tact and only points of law are considered. I find this appalling; the system is secretive and is liable to widespread corruption. Scotland has recently introduced a Bill for third party rights of appeal with considerable success. England and Wales have refused to consider it. Has any other ARRSERS had similar problems with lack of local authority oversight? Opinions welcome.