Is Our Green Belt Safe under our Council?
September 14, 2016 by Editor
THIS IS ABOUT ROCHFORD DISTRICT and we provided a contribution to this report which will be “news” for everyone who is concerned about the further loss of Green Belt in our revised Local Plan where there is a Council public consultation running at this moment.
This is what the Council has not told you.
There are some scary numbers coming forward as evidence from consultants such as 392pa instead of 250pa over the district. That COULD mean another 4000 over the existing building target of 2785!
At the Council’s policy rate of a minimum of 30 houses per hectare this implies the release of another 135.2 hectares of green belt.
“The government’s planning framework states that only ‘exceptional’ circumstances should allow building on Green Belt land. However, unclear national planning guidance and confusing government messages are causing councils to believe that in order to gain national approval of their Local Plans, they must meet higher targets. This is causing them to look at Green Belt land to meet housing growth figures.”
The Council is running a LIMITED public consultation right now. I say LIMITED because it does not comply with the recently approved NEW Council Policy on Community Involvement because the methods of engagement are not deep, wide or diverse enough for full engagement with residents. And the rate of response is not being monitored by channel for intervention if the response rate is low because of the lack of Council resources. This was specifically added to the Policy in just July. Needless to say I have complained to the Council.