Communities Secretary’s Green Belt Decision Expected To Have Local Impact
A recent ruling by the Communities Secretary, Greg Clark, could open the door to tens of thousands of new homes across the country, including 200,000 in the Borough of Guildford. Now Waverley is setting aside money to build on the Green Belt in Cranleigh.
Three sites are in Guildford: Normandy and Flexford (1,100 homes); Gosden Hill and Blackwell Farm (3,940) and; Wisley (2,068).
Catherine Maguire, CPRE green belt campaigner, said: “The government’s pre-election commitment to protect our green belt is not being adhered to. David Cameron said the green belt would ‘safe with us’, but it is manifestly not safe.
“The Metropolitan Green Belt has saved our countryside. It is hugely valuable – more so now than ever, with more and more pressure being piled on the South East.
She added: “The planning system has been weakened to the extent that even the ‘strongest protection’ afforded to green belt land is being ignored on a widespread basis.
“Even though the government has clarified that housing needs cannot ‘trump’ green belt, it has also piled pressure on councils to release land for new homes and does not take action when protected green belt land is released. This is flagrantly hypocritical.
“What’s even more maddening is that there is categorically no need to release green belt for development. The London Plan identifies brownfield development opportunities in the capital alone that could provide 300,000 new homes.
Catherine’s views are supported by Andy Smith, Surrey Branch Director of CPRE, who said: “Here in Surrey we are facing a tidal wave of new development schemes, and local councils seem to be increasingly willing to give up green belt land to make way for this development.
“But in CPRE’s view there is no justification to sacrifice these open spaces to meet arbitrary housebuilding targets and short-term political goals. The green belt has successfully held off inappropriate development for the past 70 years. We should not give up on it now.”
CPRE Surrey Branch will be holding a planning form at Leatherhead Institute next Monday evening (June 6) on Surrey’s green belt issues
No wonder then that “Your Waverley” has set aside £1m of “Your Money” to join forces with Hamish Robbie of The – Crownhall Estates to build an industrial estate on Green Belt adjoining Mansfield Park in Guildford Road, Cranleigh.
But the importance of Mr Clark’s ruling that green belt could only be built on if there is a significant local need for development reversing the position previously taken by ministers.
So where does that leave Dunsfold Park – the largest Brown field site and the largest employment site in the borough of Waverley? Due to be considered by Waverley Planners this summer?
Waverley numptys have turned down an application by Threadneedle Ltd for 120 homes by Threadneedle on the Hewitts Industrial Estate a brown field site in Alfold Road preferring to grant 75 homes in the countryside nearby! So are our local councils beating Mr Clark to the Green Belt’s door?
Paul Miner, planning campaign manager at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is quoted as saying: “It is telling developers that green belt protections can be overridden, and this is a route likely to be taken by local authorities that are already hard-pressed by aggressive developers and struggling to meet unrealistic housing targets.”
Mr Clark admitted the Gloucester plans would be “harmful” to the green belt and lead to the “loss of the essential characteristic of openness.” But he said there would be a “substantial benefit” from the new homes.
WW – Well that’s alright then isn’t it Mr Clark – concrete over the countryside – for the benefit of whom exactly?
The green credentials of this government are rapidly being seen for what they are. A facade!
As one observer said “Almost all the promises from the “Not the Conservative (Cameron) Party” are being broken.
The only party left which, at least, appears to stand for what used to be Conservative policies is UKIP. But, because of our big money and first past the post voting system – allied to the corruption in the postal voting – there seems to be little chance that they could win enough to hold the balance of power.
No wonder many people think that there is little point in voting at all in general elections.”