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Greens condemn government ‘raid’ on green spaces

 

  • Government forces council to allow development on parts of urban fringe
  • These and other spaces at risk of developers’ ‘free-for-all’ if council rejects government demands

Local Development Framework Core Strategy map

Green councillors have again condemned the government’s “developers’ charter” for insisting that green spaces in Brighton & Hove’s urban fringe should be made available for development.

Under the government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) all land in the city’s limits and not in the National Park should be considered for building upon.

The government has required that independent consultants look at how much of the city’s remaining urban fringe can be developed. The consultants have identified 39 small sites across the urban fringe, where they believe 1,200 homes can be built.

The council is required to publish this independent report for public consultation at its Policy & Resources Committee Meeting in July.

Councillor Phélim MacCaffertyCouncillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, Green spokesperson on Planning said: “The government is holding our green spaces to ransom. If they don’t get the sites they want for development, virtually every open space in our city is up for grabs.”

Government rules mean that if the council’s City Plan doesn’t meet their requirements, the plan will be thrown out in its entirety. This would mean a ‘free-for-all’ for developers, who wouldn’t have to follow any locally-set rules. This would see the Greens’ proposals for 94% of new homes being built on under-used brownfield sites, high sustainability and building standards, and a good balance between space for housing, the economy, open space, transport and public services – being thrown out too..

Without a City Plan in place, all development in the city will instead be guided by the government’s relaxed planning rules – with lower standards and a presumption in favour of development.

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty continued “This government raid on our green spaces means that if we want any protection or high development standards across the city, we have to accept their demands. Otherwise the whole of Brighton & Hove will be exposed to the full-blown effects of the NPPF and a virtual free-for-all for developers.

“Of course homes are needed – but new developments have to be appropriate. This is yet another appalling example of the government’s dodgy definition of localism.”

Notes

The papers for July’s Policy & Resources Committee can be viewed online here: http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=689&MId=5085/

* In 2011 Greens withdrew the old Local Plan because it did not reflect national policy changes, and didn’t reflect the administration’s aspirations for sustainable local development.

* The new City Plan must be examined and approved by a government-appointed inspector. The inspector’s initial feedback in December 2013 stated that the council needed to review all urban fringe sites, and required independent consultants to assess the city’s urban fringe for potential for development in line with the government’s pro-development policy.

* More information on the history of the City Plan can be found on Brighton & Hove City Council’s website here: http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/planning/local-development-framework/city-plan.

* At a construction conference in May 2014, Labour’s shadow Local Government secretary Hillary Benn MP said that a Labour government would not repeal the NPPF legislation: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenpolitics/planning/10832904/Labour-drops-plans-to-axe-national-planning-rulebook.html

 

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