Clegg’s bid to stop developments on Green Belt land

Clegg ‘Put partisan politics aside for housing solution’

In an article for the Telegraph, Deputy PM Nick Clegg calls on David Cameron to publish a prospectus for future housing developments including plans to build two garden cities in Kent and Buckinghamshire. A report on future developments is said to have been drawn up as long as two years ago, however, the Conservatives have repeatedly denied that a report on garden cities exists. Mr Clegg said: “We need to create planned communities: whole new towns with the infrastructure and amenities they need. Bloated towns and cities are being forced to expand further bit by bit, and the green belt is being eaten away. Garden cities are a way of protecting the countryside. It is possible to create them without building on any green belt, National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. And by doing it we could deliver homes people can afford in places they want to live.” Housing minister Kris Hopkins said that he was not “aware of any report which was supposed to have been published by the government but which has been ‘suppressed’.”

Now this may be a sensible way forward Nick, so long as it does not mean building on high grade agricultural land! But having said that I still come back to the issue of the consequences of our population rising year on year – surely this is unsustainable. Planning and environmental policy making in the UK needs to be brought together.

With thanks to the LGiU for this story.

Save our Green Belt and save us from flooding – two big messages from latest community consultation

As a long standing defender of Sefton’s Green Belt and environmental campaigner who speaks for Sefton Lib Dems on Planning matters I have to say that there are some powerful messages from the latest round of consultation undertaken by the Labour-run Sefton Council about its Local Plan proposals.

On the Green Belt, people from communities across the Borough are rallying to try to stop the Green Belt being concreted over.

On the other hand, big business, land owners and property developers are falling over themselves in their desperate attempts to get the Council to back building on the Green Belt and high grade agricultural land that they have an interest in.

It’s clearly going to be an uphill struggle to defend our precious Green Belt because Labour, who run the Council, have already committed to building on it. Ed Miliband has said he wants even more houses and Labour’s Council Leader has publicly backed him.

If they get their way, there will soon be no land locally to grow food on for future generations.

The other big issue that came out of the consultation is flooding. Sefton, being a low-lying Borough is particularly prone to flooding problems.

I can easily point to flooding problems in Seaforth, Formby, Lydiate, Melling and Maghull in recent years which have increased worries of properties being inundated with water.

Page after page in the Council report that went to the Planning Committee raised flooding fears. Even the Environment Agency is urging caution in respect of developing land that could flood. If Labour presses ahead with their building plans on Green Belt and high grade agricultural land then they will have a lot of work to do to convince local residents that this building won’t increase flooding risks.

The evidence is mounting that building vast amounts of extra houses in the Borough will damage our fragile environment and increase flooding risks. I do hope that the powers that be are taking notice but I fear they are not.

More on the results of this Sefton Council Local Plan consultation on this site very soon, including the additional sites where land owners and developers want to concrete over the Borough’s high grade agricultural land.

Thornton – Switch Island Link Road – Now Labour use it as an excuse to build more houses!

We have got used to Labour’s gung-ho approach to building houses; they seemingly will build any number anywhere in Sefton. Don’t worry about the Green Belt we can build houses on it. Don’t worry about high grade agricultural land we can grow houses on it!

Now they are even claiming the Thornton – Switch Island Link Road as an excuse to build houses as their Leader Cllr. Peter Dowd says of it, “Combined with new housing and employment opportunities in years to come, the road will encourage investment and improve the economic viability of the Borough for future generations.”

Sadly, those future generations will need the high grade agricultural land, that Labour seems so keen to concrete over, to feed themselves. Are there no environmental voices with Sefton Labour any more? They seem more like a branch of the House Builders Federation!