Green belt future
SIR – It is with great relief that I read the minutes from the council cabinet meeting on January 21 when it was agreed decision point (iv) That all existing Areas of Housing Search in the Green Belt be withdrawn from the current Local Development Frame
SIR - It is with great relief that I read the minutes from the council cabinet meeting on January 21 when it was agreed decision point (iv) 'That all existing Areas of Housing Search in the Green Belt be withdrawn from the current Local Development Framework Core Strategy'.
This would seem to validate the consultation process that the council has undertaken, where local residents expressed real opposition to proposed encroachment on the Green Belt.
It also confirms the council's repeated pledge to protect the Green Belt.
I congratulate the council on responding to this opposition. My only remaining concern is the minuted comment: "The chairman advised that he was referring only to the housing Areas of Search and the Regional Spatial Strategy. Should there be an overriding case for other types of development in the Green Belt such as for employment this would have to be considered on its merits".
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This concern is compounded by a visit to the Waystone Construction Website (www.waystone.co.uk). Waystone is an associate of CP Holdings, the owners of the land in Area of Search 1.
On their website Windridge Farm Development (AoS1) is currently listed as one of their UK sites. In the site description they identify that "Whilst the project is in the very early planning stages it is envisaged that over 1,000 residential units will be incorporated in the scheme alongside a hotel, village centre, commercial developments and community facilities". I presume from the council decision that the housing plans are not viable BUT what of the commercial/industrial proposals?
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It would seem that whilst the council is committed to removing the threat to the Green Belt from future planning proposals, other commercial interests seem intent on marketing and developing Green Belt land.
What will be the council's response to such commercial pressures, particularly in light of the predicted stringent constraints on local government finances going forward?
Could this force it to look benevolently on a private sector commercial plan that could offer money for development?
Could this be the 'merits' that need consideration? Could this be the real threat to the Green Belt?