CPRE see the coming election as a ‘victory’ for the countryside – Are they right?

Julia Marley, of the CPRE, writes in the Yorkshire Post about how smart planning is the key to protecting the countryside. She states that the CPRE realises that affordable homes are needed to keep the rural economy and communities alive. She argues that affordable homes can be delivered by smart planning, by building on brownfield land rather than green fields, protecting the Green Belt and increasing the delivery of homes communities want. She goes on to say that by using local skills from small and medium-sized builders, houses will get built that reflect the character of the towns and villages they are in while supporting the local economy.

Separately, in the Telegraph, Geoffrey Lean calls the election a victory for the countryside. All five nationwide political parties have pledged to prioritise building new houses on previously developed “brownfield” land rather than let it rip through the countryside, he says.

The Yorkshire Post & The Daily Telegraph covered these stories.

Lydiate campaigners and councillors fighting for their Green Belt

Lydiate campaigners and councillors fighting for their Green Belt

Yes it does sound like a victory but is it? In Sefton Borough sadly it is not. Why do I say this? Sefton Planners say there is not enough brownfield land to build upon so even if they prioritised such sites Green Belt/greenfield sites would also need to be built upon too. You see the big issue here is not simply about prioritisation of the type of land you build on first but about protecting high grade agricultural land from being built on at all! When political parties and government are talking about saving such land from development it will be a victory, until then ‘prioritisation’ probably means it will just take a little longer to get around to building on the land that grows our food.

Public urged to find neglected sites

A website launched recently by the Cabinet Office urges members of the public to find neglected government-owned buildings that could be sold. The site lists around 31,000 publicly owned assets and is intended to encourage individuals and organisations to challenge central and local government about underused property. Under a “right to contest” introduced in January, anyone can now force the government to explain why a building or plot is not being used fully and, if the department that owns it cannot justify its current use, it will be forced to release it for sale.

The site is reached via the link below and it is quite interesting to see what information is held on it if you put in a community name and search for Government owned land:-

www.gov.uk/find-government-property

The Guardian originally ran this story

With thanks to the LGiU for the lead to this posting