CPRE Berkshire has welcomed the 2017 Housing White Paper and the renewed commitment to protect the Green Belt.
We support the following initiatives:
- Make more land available for homes in the right places by maximizing the contribution from brownfield and surplus public land and regenerating estates.
- Maintain existing strong protections for the Green Belt and clarify that Green Belt boundaries should be amended only in 'exceptional circumstances' when local authorities can demonstrate that they have fully examined all other reasonable options for meeting their identified housing requirements.
- Give communities a stronger voice in the design of new housing to drive up the quality and character of new development, building on the success of neighbourhood planning.
- The actions suggested in the White Paper to deal with land-banking is noted. One of the major threats to the Green Belt is land-banking and deliberate delays caused in building on land with planning permission which puts further pressure on local authorities to consider green-field and Green Belt land.
CPRE are concerned that in order to achieve the 'housing targets' the pressure on the countryside will continue and trust that 'realistic targets' will take account where some planning authorities have a high percentage of Green Belt which should not be developed.
We need this commitment to the Green Belt and other protected areas, particularly for the Berkshire countryside, where so much is Green Belt or in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Localism Act received Royal Assent on 15th November 2011 and has five key measures:
- Neighbourhood Planning
- Community Rights
- Housing - decisions locally
- Empowering Cities & other Local Areas - improve local accountability
- General Power of Competence (for Councils)
Adam Royle, Senior Parliamentary Officer for CPRE, says: "The neighbourhood planning powers in the Localism Act promise to deliver positive outcomes for communities, by giving them a structure in which to make planning decisions for themselves. Local communities may have their hands tied by national planning policies which say there should be a default "yes" to sustainable development ".
The NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) came into force at the end of March 2012.