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Petitions

Volume 526: debated on Friday 1 April 2011

Petition

Friday 1 April 2011

Observations

Communities and Local Government

Protection of Kingswood Green Belt (South Gloucestershire)

The Petition of residents of Longwell Green, Hanham, Mangotsfield, Emersons Green, North Common, Oldland Common, Warmley, Siston, Bridgeyate, Bitton, Willsbridge, and Kingswood,

Declares that the Petitioners are concerned by attempts to build inappropriate development on the Kingswood Green Belt; notes that Green Belt sites at Williams Close, Longwell Green, Cossham Street, Mangotsfield and Barry Road, Oldland Common have faced applications to build housing which has consistently been opposed by local residents, locally elected councillors and the Member of Parliament; notes that South Gloucestershire Council’s Core Strategy protects the Kingswood Green Belt; notes that Regional Spatial Strategies responsible for placing local Green Belts at risk will shortly be abolished; notes that the Planning Inspectorate must take the abolition of Regional Spatial Strategies into account as a material consideration when ruling on current appeals; and further welcomes that decisions over future development will be returned to democratically elected councillors.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take all possible steps to protect and preserve the Kingswood Green Belt for future generations to come.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Chris Skidmore, Official Report, 17 February 2011; Vol. 523, c. 1214 .]

[P000890]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:

In the coalition agreement the Government made a commitment to maintain Green Belt and, to that end, local plan-makers and decision-takers should continue to have regard to national planning policy, including that currently set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note 2, “Green Belts”.

In May 2010 the Secretary of State announced the intention to abolish regional strategies, and their abolition will be achieved by the passage of the Localism Bill into law. This will end the imposition of “top-down” regional plans and housing targets. These have in the past put pressure on local planning authorities to accept certain levels of development and promoted the review of some green belt boundaries.

The Government said that they would make local communities fully responsible for determining the right level and locations for development, housing site provision and green belt in their own areas. A new “duty to co-operate” in the Localism Bill will require local planning authorities to discuss with neighbouring authorities any issues of more than local importance. However, it is increasingly important that local people engage in the plan-making process so as to influence the shape and extent of future development.