The LGIU briefing I received this morning contained an interesting Press Briefing relating to the Governments plans for Green Belt.
Green belt threatened by homes decision
Campaigners have warned that a ruling from Communities Secretary Greg Clarke could see tens of thousands of new homes built on green belt land. In giving the go-ahead for 1,500 new homes to be built on land near Gloucester, Mr Clarke ruled that green belt land could be built on where there is a significant local need for housing – a reversal of the position previously taken by ministers.
Mr Clarke admitted in his ruling that the plans would be “harmful” to the green belt and lead to the “loss of the essential characteristic of openness,” but concluded that there would be a “substantial benefit” from new homes.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) believes the decision could set a precedent and increase pressure on local authorities to approve green belt developments. Paul Miner, planning campaign manager at CPRE, commented: “It is telling developers that green belt protections can be overridden,” adding that “this is a route likely to be taken by local authorities that are already hard-pressed by aggressive developers and struggling to meet unrealistic housing targets.” He also warned that towns and cities across the country “can expect to see their green belts under increased risk of being eroded away by unnecessary development.”
The CPRE has identified a number of sites where developers are pressing for thousands of homes to be built, saying that Mr Clarke’s statement could be cited by those seeking to gain approval of housing projects on the highlighted plots.
Councillor Phil Bateman said “Its this type of thinking that the Government is continually expressing that places Green Belt land like in South Staffordshire and Essington continually under pressure. I bet the residents of Essington will be wishing their local MP who is so influential with the Prime Minister a bunch of roses for this policy!