Minister confirms our green belt remains specially protected

In January, Anna Soubry, Member of Parliament for Broxtowe, wrote to the Planning Minister Greg Clark to seek assurances about the protection of the green belt.

In his response, the Minister confirms, “Only in exceptional circumstances should Green Belt boundaries be amended through the development plan process, and only after robust public consultation and independent examination of the draft proposal.”

Anna Soubry said, “Greg Clark confirms what I have been telling Broxtowe Borough Council for many months, that the last government’s targets are about to be scrapped and so Councils should consult with residents to set their own target, but not at the price of our green belt which remains specially protected.”

The Broxtowe MP added, “When Broxtowe Borough Council announced its intention to allow 4,000 houses on our green belt land, I told them as a Council and as individual Councillors that their plans are contrary to Government policy and that green belt land remains specially protected from development. They wouldn’t listen to me but hopefully they will accept the Ministers word”.

In his letter Mr Clark continues, “Furthermore, if the Government’s draft National Planning Policy Framework were to be adopted as currently drafted it would provide strong protection to the Green Belt, and encourage land to be allocated of the least environmental or amenity value. Only in exceptional circumstances should Green Belt boundaries be amended through the development plan process, and only after robust public consultation and independent examination of the draft proposal. We intend to publish the final version of the Framework before 31 March.”

Anna said, “Labour relies on alleged conversations with “inspectors” and discussions with planners (who are somewhat biased in favour of house building) to assert they have no alternative but the accept the last Government’s target and allow development on our green belt. I believe many well meaning Lib Dem Councillors have believed what they have been told and have little doubt they have been badly and wrongly advised by their Labour allies on the Council.”

Anna Soubry has sent a copy of the Minister’s response to every Councillor and has advised them to think again and to adopt the approach of Rushcliffe Borough Council.

Anna said, “The Tory leadership was determined not favour development on green field or green belt land unless it was with the consent of local people. All of this is in sharp contrast to the approach of the controlling Labour/Lib Dem group at Broxtowe who accepted the target, identified huge swathes of green belt land and then sold out residents in Stapleford and Toton by making their green belt “preferred sites”. Toton was taken off the list but remained part of the plan with dire consequences. I very much hope that Broxtowe will now think again and all our Councillors will work together to protect our green belt land and get on with building the homes we need on our brownfield sites.”