During the debate, ‘The Future of the Green Belt in England’, Anna asked, “What has led to the situation in my constituency and the proposal to build up to 4,000 homes on the green belt in the most densely populated borough in the county, if not the east midlands? There are brownfield sites in my constituency, but enough for only 2,000 houses. The borough council has accepted a target of almost 6,000 homes, and the green belt is the only place where they can be built. I am opposed to that, and believe that I represent the overwhelming majority of my constituents in that opposition. It is a peculiar situation, given that the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Leader of the House and every Minister I have met who is concerned about planning policy, has made it clear, in questions, speeches and so on, that the Government do not intend to alter the special protection afforded to our green belt. All hon. Members will agree that that is the right and proper thing to do.”
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Andrew Stunnell MP, in replying to Anna’s argument said, “I hope that I can reassure her and others that far from weakening environmental protection, our planning reforms will strengthen them”.
The Minister also promised to ensure that the record of Tuesday’s debate would be entered into the Draft National Planning Policy Framework consultation process.
The Minister added, “The draft NPPF sets out the Government’s proposed policies on planning and retains the key policy protections for the green belt”. As well as saying, “The Government value the green belt highly. It is an essential planning tool to prevent sprawl, and its retention is a coalition agreement commitment. The abolition of the regional spatial strategies through the Localism Bill will stop the top-down pressure to review green belts in many areas. Some 30 green belt areas are currently under the kind of pressure that my hon. Friend outlined eloquently, due to the pressure exerted by regional spatial strategies, which often impose highly inappropriate numbers on areas without the physical capacity to take them.”
The Minister finished by saying, “we want plans to be developed in accordance with the wishes of local communities and to create the homes, jobs, transport links and recreational facilities that we need to produce environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities. It is the Government’s clear intention to do so.”
” I was pleased so many colleagues come along to the debate. There is widespread concern that Councils are rushing ahead ignoring the real powers the Localism Bill will give communities and the new planning policy which protects our green belt from development. Broxtowe Borough Council continues to follow Labours old law instead of embracing the Localism Bill and the way it will stop thousands of houses on our precious green belt
The Westminster Hall debate was the latest stage of Anna’s campaign which has seen her write to all Broxtowe Borough Councillors about the plans, make a formal submission to the Consultation, attend public meetings organised by Broxtowe Borough Council and organise more public meetings throughout Broxtowe. On Saturday 24th September, almost 200 residents attended such a meeting at the Toton Greenwood Community Centre, organised by Anna and local Councillors.
Anna has arranged two more public meetings in conjunction with local
Councillors: the next one is to take place on Saturday 12th November at Nuthall Temple Community Centre 4:00-5:00pm. A further meeting has been arranged with Greasley Councillors to take place on Saturday 26th November form 2:00pm-4:00pm at Greasley Parish Hall.
To contact Anna about the Green Belt campaign and future meetings e-mail Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the Constituency Office on
0115 943 6507.