Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Threat to greenfield sites from the Liberal Democrats

A bulldozer in Lib Dem yellow livery
 Here's a letter I sent to the Examiner in response to a Lib Dem Councillors letter praising the total hash the goverment seem to be making of planning policy at the moment. On the one hand offering 'localism' on the other making it easy for developers to build on green spaces:-

Lib Dem Councillor Tony Woodhead amazingly makes a virtue of the Coalition Governments relaxation of planning rules (Examiner Letters 4/4/11). He quotes proudly from the Government Website 'Councils must ensure that they are not imposing any unnecessary burdens in the way of development'.

Theses so called planning 'reforms' were announced recently as part of the budget statement. There is to be a presumption in favour of development, quotas for bulding on previously developed 'brownfield' land are to be abolished placing more pressure on greenfield and greenbelt sites. Councils are to be encouraged to auction off land in their ownership. I find it unbelievable that the Lib Dems and their Conservative masters regard this as good news. Are these the same Lib Dems and Conservatives who are saying how keen they are to protect the greenbelt in their rather misleading leaflets?

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England said of the Coalition Government planning statement,

"The planning measures present a potentially devastating threat to the countryside and are unlikely to boost long-term economic growth. To suggest, as successive Governments have done, that planning is a key impediment to growth is just wrong. The planning system exists to prevent unsustainable, unwanted and environmentally damaging development".

Councillor Woodhead and the Lib Dems/Conservatives cannot have their cake and eat it. They cannot claim to be in favour of protecting our local environment and be part of a government intent on selling it off for development.

Councillor Andrew Cooper

Green Party - Newsome Ward

Link to CPRE Website for referennce - http://www.cpre.org.uk/news/view/736


  1. The land auction element is something particularly dreamt up by the Lib Dems' think tank. I was at a meeting in Dewsbury tonight on the Kirklees LDF and asked the Tory MP, who had waxed long about protecting greenbelt, about these changes - he blustered about "sustainable development" being desirable but not on greenbelt (possibly a tad of "creativity" there) and then suggested the council should work on the basis of "imagining the Localism Bill is already enacted" - strange that a barrister might encourage people to imagine laws that, as yet, don't exist.

  2. I've had good reports of your contributions at last nights meeting in Dewsbury. I was at Brockholes Village Trust's meeting last night and the Local Lib Dem David Woodhead had written to the Trust reassuring them that land that was to be built on in Brockholes was 'not greenbelt' as if that was the only measure of land that was valued and that Provisional Open Land was 'fair game'. These guys are really out of touch.

  3. I think it is a bit much to describe Tony Woodhead's letter as praise for "the total hash the goverment seem to be making of planning policy at the moment". The vast majority of his letter is simply quoting from a DCLG document. Pointing out what is the Government's policy does not automatically equate to endorsing it.

  4. Cmon Adam. He wasn't quoting govt planning policy for nothing, for the hell of it, just for fun or as something to do between sticking leaflets, with dodgy graphs on through doors. He's clearly in favour of govt policy on planning. I'm not.