What now for Sutton Coldfield green belt as the Government reinforces protection?
A. Hill Wood, East of Watford Gap, North of Mere Green/Roughley
3rd July 2013
A written Ministerial Statement by Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis, this week, has once again confirmed the increased protection of the green belt by the coalition Government.
In a statement originally given at House of Commons around planning and travellers, Brandon Lewis said “The Secretary of State wishes to make clear that, in considering planning applications, although each case will depend on its facts, he considers that the single issue of unmet demand, whether for traveller sites or for conventional housing, is unlikely to outweigh harm to the green belt and other harm to constitute the ‘very special circumstances’ justifying inappropriate development in the green belt.”
Brandon Lewis said as set out in that document and in March 2012’s National Planning Policy Framework, inappropriate development in the green belt should not be approved except in very special circumstances. Having considered recent planning decisions by councils and the Planning Inspectorate, it has become apparent that, in some cases, the green belt is not always being given the sufficient protection that was the explicit policy intent of ministers.”
The coalition government has taken a series of steps to ensure fair play in the planning system. We have tackled the abuse of planning rules by a small minority, abolished top-down targets, increased protection of the green belt and aligned the planning system for traveller sites with that for settled housing.” he said.
“The National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that councils should plan to provide wide choice of high quality homes based on the needs of their local community. Councils should simply use their common sense in light of prevailing legislation, planning policy and material considerations.”
“The Secretary of State wishes to give particular scrutiny to traveller site appeals in the green belt, so that he can consider the extent to which. Planning policy for traveller sites is meeting this government’s clear policy intentions. To this end he is hereby revising the appeals recovery criteria issued on 30 June 2008 and will consider for recovery appeals involving traveller sites in the green belt.”
The Secretary of State will apply this criteria for a period of 6 months.
“I hope this will send a positive message about treating all members of the community with respect and with due process, and that this government is restoring a proper sense of fairness to the planning system.”
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