Nothing can now change the loss of Green Belt
October 6, 2014 by Editor
Our Local Conservative Councillors have been telling residents for years that they have to remove Green Belt protection when drawing up their Local Plans, in order to meet [housing] demand.
Conservative Government Minister Eric Pickles has now stepped in to say that the Government did not require this and the move will be seen as a pre-election pitch by the Conservatives to win round rural Tory supporters who are furious about new development.
“Nothing can now change the loss of Green Belt in Hawkwell, Ashingdon and Rochford for 1000 houses where it has not been proven that these are required to meet local housing needs” said Residents Councillors John and Christine Mason.
They went on to ask “So will there be a change of mind on another over 1000 houses in green belt in Rayleigh and Hullbridge?”
“The Government seems to be blaming the local Conservative Councillors who were in charge of local planning policy which is what local residents have been saying for a long time.”
“This “volte-face” by the Government is too late to save them in the local elections unless big changes are made in the Core Strategy before May 2015 and any promises will be seen as “just election promises as usual” !!
The Conservatives promised at the 2010 General Election to reverse Labour Housing Targets and give decisions on planning to Local Residents. All that happened was the concentration of planning decisions in Conservative Councils which followed a house building diktat from the Conservative Government without any challenge to Government despite the views of local residents.
Whatever way you look at it the Conservatives are to blame. If houses have been built on Green Belt despite your wishes then you will know already how to vote.
Specifically the new guidance makes clear that councils do not have to build on the Green Belt just to meet the locally set five-year housing targets.
The new planning guidance states explicitly for the first time that “once established, Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances”.
Councils will have to “take account of any constraints such as Green Belt which indicate that development should be restricted and which may restrain the ability of an authority to meet its need”, it says.