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Green belt land between Great Wyrley and Cheslyn Hay

Volume 611: debated on Wednesday 18 May 2016

The petition of residents of Great Wyrley and Cheslyn Hay in the South Staffordshire constituency, and others,

Declares that the current proposals to build 136 houses on Landywood Lane, Great Wyrley will lead to the erosion of the distinct identity of our individual villages and could cause substantial environmental damage and further notes that residents have already successfully fought these proposals at local council level in 2013.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take all possible steps to encourage South Staffordshire District Council to reject these proposals, and if the proposals go to the Planning Inspectorate, to also encourage them to reject the proposals so that the green belt can be conserved for future generations.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Gavin Williamson, Official Report, 19 April 2016; Vol. 608, c. 888.]

[P001684]

Observations from the Minister for Housing and Planning (Brandon Lewis); received 17 May 2016:

Green Belts are created by local authorities, who are required to protect them in line with national policy set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. The Framework states that inappropriate development, including most forms of housebuilding, should not be approved there except in very special circumstances. It also makes it clear that a Green Belt boundary can be altered only in exceptional circumstances, using the Local Plan process of public consultation followed by rigorous independent examination of the revised Plan.

Local authorities, working with their communities, have to determine the best location for new homes. Our guidance reminds them to have due regard to national policies, such as Green Belt policy, which indicate that development should be restricted and which may restrain an authority’s ability to meet its housing need. Moreover, the Framework asks local authorities to recognise the character and beauty of the countryside, and the benefits of the best and most versatile farmland. They should also insist on the highest standards of design when considering new development.

We want local authorities and their communities to be in charge of planning their areas. As Secretary of State, I intervene in the planning application process only in a very few, exceptional circumstances, where planning issues of more than local importance are involved. Each case is considered on its merits. If the local authority is minded to approve a proposal, but has not yet determined it, anyone may draw the application to the attention of the National Planning Policy Casework Unit (npcu@communities.gsi.gov.uk) and request that it be considered for call-in. NPCU advises the Secretary of State on such cases.