Just in case you are struggling to find the motivation to put pen to paper and write to your local Councillors and MPS, take note of this success story.
John Parsons from Lye Green recently took the time to write to the Rt Hon Cheryl Gillian MP. She in turn wrote specifically about Lye Green to the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP (The Housing Minister) on behalf of John Parsons.
You can read both the MP's responses here: CLICK HERE.
This is very encouraging, so I would urge you all to write to the Rt Hon Cheryl Gillian MP and follow it up by sending a copy of your letter and response to Chiltern District Council.
Full instructions can be found here: How to Lobby - Brown Not Green
The Government, in February 2017, released a Housing White paper entitled: "Fixing our broken housing market". The fully copy of the White Paper can be found here.
To save you trawling through the whole White Paper, Philip Plato has done this already for us picking out the key points that affect the Brown Not Green Campaign. When quoting the White Paper in your letters to councillors (See How to Lobby - Brown Not Green) it may help you to quote some of the following key elements of the White Paper. Philip’s words are in italics and he uses bold format to emphasise key statements.
“...maintain existing strong protections for the Green Belt, and clarify that Green Belt boundaries should be amended only in exceptional circumstances when local authorities can demonstrate that they have fully examined all other reasonable options for meeting their identified housing requirements;”
2.Bringing Brownfield land back into use is also a highlighted aspiration too. Interestingly great emphasis is placed on standardising the Needs Assessment for Housing in Local Plans and that the Govt will:
“make clear that on top of the allowance made for windfall sites, at least 10% of the sites allocated for residential development in local plans should be sites of half a hectare or less;”
3.There seems to be an attempt to define “exceptional circumstances” for modifying Green Belt Boundaries. In Para 1.39:
“Therefore we propose to amend and add to national policy to make clear that:
• authorities should amend Green Belt boundaries only when they can demonstrate that they have examined fully all other reasonable options for meeting their identified development requirements, including:
– making effective use of suitable brownfield sites and the opportunities offered by estate regeneration;
– the potential offered by land which is currently underused, including surplus public sector land where appropriate;
– optimising the proposed density of development; and
– exploring whether other authorities can help to meet some of the identified development requirement.
• and where land is removed from the Green Belt, local policies should require the impact to be offset by compensatory improvements to the environmental quality or accessibility of remaining Green Belt land. We will also explore whether higher contributions can be collected from development as a consequence of land being released from the Green Belt.
I see all this as mixed news. Personally, I welcome the affirmation of Brownfield first & the re-emphasis that Green Belt is still only released in exceptional circumstances. I also generally welcome the attempt to define exceptional circumstances but as always the generalised nature of White Papers still leaves some ambiguity.
Philip Plato. 7/2/2017