Published: September 26, 2011
Burnham's former MP criticises National Trust over planning reforms

Burnham-On-Sea's former MP, David Heathcoat-Amory, has this week said the National Trust is wrong to become involved in the row over government planning reforms.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Mr Heathcoat-Amory, who was Burnham's MP from 1983 until 2010, has accused the National Trust of becoming involved in "a sort of jihad".

Speaking to the paper's Mandrake columnist at the launch of a book about the donors who have given land to the charity, the former MP said: "I do hope the National Trust does not join a generalised campaign which, however exciting, can overlook the complexity of the issue."

"They should also be careful with not being associated with a general attack on the planning system, when everyone knows the problems associated with it anyway."

Mr Heathcoat-Amory's ancestral home in Devon was donated to the trust in 1973, and he is also the chairman of his family’s property business.

Sir Simon Jenkins, the chairman of the National Trust, told the paper: "He works for a property developer. I don’t think I need to reply because he has got an interest, as they all have, in acquiring land for property development."

"We cannot engage in political activity, as such, but we are charged with protecting the countryside and we’re now fighting to defend the non-designated and non-protected country parts of Britain – that’s within our remit."

Pictured: Former MP David Heathcoat-Amory on the town's seafront


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