Angela stands up for the Green Belt
In a debate in Parliament on the 17th July 2018, the Penistone & Stocksbridge MP, Angela Smith gave a Passionate speech in defence of protecting the Green Belt.
The debate called by Angela was prompted by her concerns about draft local plans being worked in both Barnsley and Sheffield.
While she appreciates new homes are needed if we are to have enough housing available for the region’s growing population she is fearful that despite Government assurances the Green Belt is being respected the opposite seems to be true when councils are coming up with their plans, saying;
“High target numbers have combined with green belt reviews and the traditional call to developers to put previously out of reach sites within the grasp of them…”
During the debate she also pointed out the lack of local democracy in working up with these draft plans. In one case she mentioned the local community came up with its own neighbourhood plan as the Government recommended only for it to see it completely ignored by inspectors. Yet when Historic England raised the same concerns, these were then listened to.
As the process of drafting the new local plan for Sheffield starts shortly she is concerned that despite the Councils stated aim of using Brownfield site first will be compromised as pressure is put on the council to designate land for housing. Saying;
“I believe the Council is genuinely committed to these outcomes, but history tells me that it will have to work very hard to do so. In this case, as with Barnsley, the odds are somewhat stacked against success.”
‘The Campaign for the Protection Rural Education’ has also informed Angela that they believe there is no need to build on green belt or green spaces in Sheffield. Saying the city has five years of deliverable land supply on brownfield land and 11 years land supply on brownfield in total, enough for 13,145 homes.
Given these figures she asked the Minister responding to the debate for assurances that Green Policy is more than just warm words and that brownfield first really does mean that. Unfortunately the Minister wouldn’t address this point in his answer.
For the complete speech please see the transcript below