‘This local land banking plan has to be stopped’
ONCE again, we have yet another assault on our greenfield land by developers who, in my opinion, are not in the least interested in bringing this country out of the crisis we find ourselves in, but see an easy profit, pure and simple!
I am at a loss to explain why our planners can find all the reasons in the world to allow greenfield development, and as many reasons, if not more, not to further the brownfield sites that are unused and derelict, and that I'm sure already have the relevant permissions to develop.
My opinion is that these developers are developing the greenfield sites, with the old blarney that they are "deliverable" in times of this so-called "housing shortage", and say they are helping this council to fulfil its commitment under the "Local Plan" (or whatever other policy they can find, that can be used to justify this immoral practice), when in reality they are "land banking" these lucrative greenfield plots purely for profit, because they know that the brownfield sites, which are on the whole more expensive to develop, are in the bank.
This has to be stopped. This Government won't do it, they've just made it easier for developers to do just what I've mentioned, with these new planning rules.
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The solution was never to change the rules, but to put greenfield sites decisively last on the list for development (as the old rules quite clearly set out), and to invite and include residents, affected by these developments, in the decision making process.
Imagine how smoothly the planning system would be if our planning officers and the developers entered into talks behind closed doors, and then those officers recommending the ensuing planning application – which is very difficult to overturn after officer recommendation – and the affected residents with no knowledge until the first document of the so-called consultation process drops through their letterboxes with 21 days or less to comment.
Then the community anxiety and worry that I have witnessed begins, and the objections and the legal wrangling, that can cost councils and taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds.
If, instead, the affected residents (or more to the point their elected representatives) were at those talks behind closed doors, so that when the application is submitted everyone is already 'in the loop' and in agreement, the application moves through the planning system like a hot knife through butter... simples!
Time for transparency of this planning system in this borough of ours, and the country as a whole. In my opinion it's too long overdue.
Regardless of which Government is in, because they seem to be all the same at the moment on this issue, with regard to transparency, there has to be a fundamental change, like the one I've suggested above, in every council planning department.
Let us stop this purely-for-profit practice before we have no open spaces or countryside left.
Name and address supplied.
The Telegraph says
It does seem rather a coincidence that so many housing developments have been proposed at the same time, all on greenfield sites. Last year the Government became embroiled in a row over the new National Planning Policy Framework, which was amended to protect greenfield sites after a campaign by groups like the National Trust. There have been persistent reports that ministers are looking at loosening rules on building on the green belt in an Economic Development bill in the next few weeks, but only last week, at the Tory Conference, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said it will be protected. Are developers gambling on that Econonomic Development Bill?