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Green Belt Land

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 31st October 2011.

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Photo of Karen Lumley Karen Lumley Conservative, Redditch 2:30 pm, 31st October 2011

What steps he is taking to protect green belt land.

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Decentralisation and Cities) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

The draft national planning policy framework is unequivocal in continuing the protection of the green belt. By abolishing the previous Government’s regional spatial strategies, we are removing the top-down pressure on councils to take away the green belt in 30 areas across England.

Photo of Karen Lumley Karen Lumley Conservative, Redditch

My constituents in Hanbury, a small village near Redditch, are facing a proposed development of over 400 homes, which would considerably change the nature of the village. Will my right hon. Friend reassure me that their rights will be protected under the framework and that due consideration will be given to their concerns?

Photo of Greg Clark Greg Clark The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Minister of State (Department for Communities and Local Government) (Decentralisation and Cities) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

My hon. Friend knows that I cannot comment on the particular situation to which she refers, but she should be reassured about the new powers set out in the framework. The Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my hon. Friend Robert Neill, quoted from the legal bible on planning, the planning encyclopaedia. It states, “The most impressive of the sections in the NPPF is that on the green belt.” As a précis of PPG, it states that, “it could not be bettered, in particular in respect to inappropriate development. It would certainly be inconsistent with the policies herein contained for there to be any significant encroachment of built development on the green belt.”