Campaigners 'deeply worried' about ministers' green belt plans
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Communities, Development
Campaigners 'deeply worried' about ministers green belt plans
Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is highly concerned about potential government plans to build on the green belt.
It has been reported that senior ministers are keen to weaken planning rules in an effort to boost the economy.
Prime Minister David Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander met last week to discuss sweeping changes to planning laws, the Daily Mail has reported.
Shaun Spiers, Chief Executive of CPRE, said: “Reports that senior Ministers are contemplating a new Bill to sweep away planning controls are deeply worrying.
“There have been three significant reforms of the planning system since the Coalition took office, and Ministers should give them time to take effect rather than embarking on yet another upheaval".
CPRE has pointed out that any attempts to weaken protection of the green belt would contradict the Government's previous stance, which has made clear pledges in the past to protect it from development.
Shaun Spiers continued: “The country does need many, many more new homes than we are currently building, but there is no evidence that the planning system is stopping us building them. We are not building enough new homes because individuals cannot get mortgages and public investment in new housing is inadequate.
“It is the job of the planning system to stop inappropriate development. We should remember the words of the former Cabinet Secretary, Gus O’Donnell, who spoke about the need to be clear about the purpose of planning reform: ‘If it is to boost GDP, then the answer is simple: concrete over the South East. But of course that’s not what we want and that’s because you would have to be an idiot to want to maximise GDP. It’s a highly flawed measure and I am pleased that we are at last starting to think more broadly about how as a society we measure success.’”
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