Posted by cpre in Hands off the Green Belt, Housing Development, Politics
on Feb 7th, 2017
The Surrey Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) welcomed the Housing White Paper published today (Tues 7 Feb), in particular its focus on addressing market failure in the housebuilding industry.
Andy Smith, CPRE Surrey Branch Director, said: “The White Paper sets out policies that aim to give England the right houses in the right places, rather than just more urban sprawl into the countryside which is what the developers have been agitating for.
“It is a great relief that instead of giving in to the developers and opening up the Green Belt for development, which we had feared, the Government have opted to defend the planning system and push for more urban regeneration and brownfield development instead.
“It is reassuring that ministers have reiterated their commitment to the countryside and have stated in the White Paper that Green Belt land can only been built on in exceptional circumstances and after every other possible option has been exhausted. We hope that local councils will take heed of it this very clear statement from ministers. Our Green Belt must be protected.
“We are also pleased that the Government is proposing to speed up the building of homes on sites where there is already planning permission for housing but where the housebuilders have dragged their feet and not actually built anything. This was part of the developers’ scam – sitting on land where they have permission to build but haven’t yet put a shovel in the ground. Under the White Paper the developers will have to build quickly or they will lose their permission. As CPRE’s national Chief Executive, Shaun Spiers, has said, ‘Builders must build, not just sit on land’.”
Mr Smith added that local councils’ housing targets in Surrey must be reasonable, “not the excessive and unsustainable numbers we have seen in some Local Plans”, and with a strong focus on brownfield urban development, affordability, and meeting genuine local needs.