Chester MP Stephen Mosley has welcomed a statement made in the House of Commons by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles that reaffirms the Government’s commitment to protecting Greenbelt land.
The Coalition Government’s number one priority is to get the economy growing and last year it published a comprehensive housing strategy to help achieve that goal. The strategy includes expanding the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme, significantly increasing the discounts available to tenants to buy their own home, and the introduction of the ‘NewBuy’ scheme, allowing people access to mortgages with only a 5% deposit.
However, the recent announcement aims to go even further. To unblock stalled development sites with the capacity for up to 16,000 homes, a £570 million Get Britain Building fund has been launched. The Government has also announced plans to dispose of public sector land with the capacity to deliver 100,000 homes, and invested £770 million in infrastructure for housing and growth through the Growing Places Fund.
But central to the Government’s housing strategy is a commitment to the protection of Greenbelt land.
The Coalition Agreement commits the Government to safeguarding Greenbelt and other environmental designations, which feature in the new National Planning Policy Framework. Furthermore, the Localism Act allows for the abolition of Labour’s Regional Spatial Strategies which sought to bulldoze the Greenbelt around thirty towns and cities across the country.
In his statement to the House of Commons, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:
“The Green Belt is an important protection against urban sprawl, providing a ‘green lung’ around towns and cities.
“There is considerable previously developed land in many Green Belt areas, which could be put to more productive use. We encourage Councils to make best use of this land, whilst protecting the openness of the Green Belt in line with the requirements in the National Planning Policy Framework.”
Commenting on the Government’s announcement, Stephen Mosley said:
“I am delighted that the Government is pushing ahead with plans to encourage sustainable development, which will boost the economy and help first-time buyers. The construction industry plays a key role in kick-starting any economy, and the UK is no exception.
“I am also thrilled that the Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the Greenbelt; something which I am very passionate about. I will be campaigning to ensure that this policy is upheld in Chester, and that our Greenbelt is protected.”