Government planning proposals threaten Green Belt, say Greens

The coalition government has asked local councils for views on its proposed relaxation of planning rules.

The government would rather relax planning rules, at the behest of developers who want to build on greenfield sites than rework brownfield sites – because it’s cheaper.

There is a risk that the planning system will make it easier for developers to evade planning rules here in Reigate and Banstead – where we are lucky enough to be part of the Green Belt.

Redhill Green Councillor Jonathan Essex said: “The new national planning proposals expose this Government’s shocking bias towards big business and its determination tear up protection laws for our precious countryside. Ministers are intent on scrapping the policy of building on brownfield sites before greenfield sites and the duty to ensure that new developments minimise road traffic.

“The new proposals threaten to make backyard development easier and to promote urban sprawl, without providing the social housing that our Borough needs.”

Councillor Sarah Finch said, “The proposals are proving very unpopular across the country, with organisations like the National Trust, the WI and the Daily Telegraph campaigning against them.  There is huge concern locally, where where people care about protecting the Green Belt and defending the character of our towns.

“There is an urgent need to build more homes, in order to address the housing crisis, but the main obstacle isn’t the planning system, it’s the lack of money – thanks in no small part to the Government’s decision to cut the affordable housing budget by 60%.

“Jonathan and I are contributing to the Council’s response to the proposals – please get in touch and tell us your views.”

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