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Clarity needed on green belt protections

October 3, 2011 5:15 PM

Bradford MP David Ward has called for controversial planning changes to be clarified to ensure that the city's green belt land remains protected.

In an effort to simplify planning procedures the Government have simplified over 1,000 pages of planning guidance to just 52 pages in the National Planning Policy Framework. The revised regulations include a "presumption in favour of sustainable development" which has prompted an outcry from the National Trust and other groups who claim that it will put green belt land under threat from urban expansion.

David has written to Ministers calling on the guidelines to be revised to clarify the protections for green belt land and to ensure that building on brown field sites is prioritised wherever possible.

Commenting, David said:

"I welcome recent assurances from the Prime Minister that strong protections for the countryside will remain in place, but I think that needs to be made crystal clear in any new planning guidance.

"It is right that the Government are trying to simplify planning regulations which have become far too complex over the years. It is partly for that reason that house building under Labour fell to the lowest level since the 1920s leaving many young families struggling to find an affordable home to live in.

"However, communities around Bradford hugely value our green belt land and I will be seeking changes to reassure them that this will not be allowed to disappear under urban sprawl. We have plenty of good brown field sites in Bradford, and they must be prioritised for any new development."