SOUTH West Wiltshire MP Dr Andrew Murrison has today welcomed the Government’s draft Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

Dr Murrison says he has been ploughing through the mammoth Levelling Up and Regeneration draft Bill published this week.

The MP said: “I am particularly pleased with clauses in the 325-page document that will give new powers to councils to compulsorily purchase property for regeneration, especially in high streets.

“Further powers will be given to ensure boarded property is rented out to tenants.”

Dr Murrison, who chairs the Trowbridge Place Panel - which meets this week in the town hall - aimed at improving the look and feel of the county town, added: “I want the town centres of the three sizeable towns I represent - Trowbridge, Warminster and Westbury - to be attractive, vibrant, happening places that people will want to enjoy and spend time in.

“This Bill will help us do what we have to do to make them achieve their maximum potential and to be even more important parts of the local, job creating economy.”

Parish councils are often complaining to the MP that their carefully drafted neighbourhood plans aren’t given the respect they deserve in the planning process.

Dr Murrison said: “I’m delighted to see in the Bill plans to enhance the importance of local and neighbourhood plans in the planning process allowing a stronger voice for communities.”

Clause 71 heralds a new approach to council borrowing, a particular issue in Trowbridge.

The MP said: “Trowbridge town council made itself one of the most indebted councils in England. So, I welcome plans in the draft Bill to limit the risk authorities can take.

“I’ll lobby to ensure the Bill that finally gets Royal Assent is able to moderate the borrow and spend approach of the most indebted authorities.”