Posted by: westlancashirerecord | May 9, 2017

Green Belt Powers Controversy

In an article published in The Times  the government policy on blighting our countryside with new homes development is described as a postcode lottery. You can read it here  [click to enlarge] and you might become “angry of Halsall”, or “angry of Aughton” and “angry of anywhere in West Lancashire” where home developers with deep pockets to pay huge legal fees are contemptuous of our claims for the prevention of urban sprawl.

As usual the Campaign to Protect Rural England is on the ball. Aughton Parish Council pays its annual membership fee to CPRE, a matter treated with derision throughout the Local Plan period leading up to all Aughton’s councillors voting for the ultimate desecration of Parrs Lane, unless the Supreme Court delivers a favourable decision on appeals that raised the issue of the meaning and effect of government policy contained in paragraph 49 of the National Planning Policy Framework, that the policies of local planning authorities for the supply of housing should not be considered up to date if they could not demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites.

The CPRE refers not only to the postcode lottery but to pressure from developers and political leadership of councils seeing new homes bonus of £9,000 for each new home. In a bizarre exchange when a borough council leader in Surrey asked the Community Secretary to define exceptional circumstances to amend green belt boundaries he said “…green belt losses would have to be offset by improvements to remaining green belt land”.

Residents of West Lancashire fought long and hard to protect our countryside knowing that whereas Skelmersdale was screaming out for the development planned for it developers wanted prime land elsewhere. At the Aughton Parish Council meeting last night Ian Grant, once an opponent of campaigners as his party introduced the Local Plan, said “There has to be a vendor so developers can buy land to build on”. But that short changed the people who believe agricultural land should be for what it is, not for what fills private pockets.

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