Tuesday 24 April 2012
Communities and Local Government
Prevention of Development on Green Belt Land
The Petition of residents of Bournemouth,
Declares that the Petitioners are opposed to the proposed development of three permanent sites for Gypsies and Travellers in Strouden, Throop and Muscliff; that the Petitioners believe that Bournemouth has already more than adequately contributed to Dorset’s housing numbers; and that this would be an inappropriate use of much treasured greenbelt land and open space.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to bring forward legislation to strengthen the powers of local councils to allow them to prevent residential developments from being built on the greenbelt.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr Tobias Ellwood, Official Report, 22 March 2012; Vol. 542, c. 1036.]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government:
The quasi-judicial role of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in planning means that he cannot comment on particular planning cases. However, the Government recognise that there has been concern about planning policy on traveller sites. We want to see fair play, with everyone treated even-handedly.
Since this petition was presented, the Government published on 23 March their new planning policy for Traveller sites. Local planning authorities drafting local plans, or taking decisions on planning applications, are under a statutory duty to have regard to this policy, where relevant.
The new policy makes clear that traveller sites (temporary or permanent) in the green belt are inappropriate development. This means that such development should not be approved except in very special circumstances.
The Government’s view is that the protections for the green belt, set out in the new national planning policy framework and the planning policy for traveller sites, are stringent and robust, and that planning authorities do not need new legal powers to protect green belt land. Through the proposed abolition of regional strategies and housing targets, we would remove the top down pressure to review and delete green belt boundaries. The Government have put decisions about new development back into the hands of local authorities, in consultation with their communities, whilst ensuring the protection of green belt.