Small ads

Calderdale's green fields ? in peril!

From Anthony Rae

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The consequences of the Coalition Government's proposed dismantling of planning guidance for what happens locally are as yet little-known or discussed. But since the planning system promotes a sustainable society and a low carbon future in all sorts of ways they are likely to be far reaching. However it's the impact upon greenfield housing development that is likely to be the most contentious in local communities everywhere.

That's why today Friends of the Earth is launching its 'Calderdale's green fields ? in peril' campaign. The complete removal from the proposed National Planning Policy Framework of any preference in favour of 'brownfield sites before greenfield', combining with the requirement to increase housing allocations, the absence of any controls over the release of land, and the new 'presumption in favour of development', will together put more than 300 greenfield sites across Calderdale and around 450 hectares - that's the size of about 625 football pitches! - at risk. Including here in Hebden Bridge and its surroundings.

You can find out more information about the campaign on the Friends of the Earth website here, and more importantly take a variety of actions including signing of the 38 Degrees (85,000+ signatures so far) and National Trust (100,000+ signatures) petitions, and contacting Leader of the Council Janet Battye and Craig Whittaker MP requesting them to express their opposition to these threats and to the NPPF as a whole. It's important to act now because the consultation closes on 17th October.

From Sutti H

Friday, 30 September 2011

I think this is a very important campaign. We all know how the present rules are bent and pushed to the maximum and often even ignored, I'm afraid the new proposed rules will be a free for all, only if you've enough money though.

Good luck with Mr Whittaker. I would be suprised if he understood his answer.

From Andy M

Monday, 3 October 2011

Yes, I think you may have trouble encouraging our MP to go against the flow . . . unless it involves relaxing smoking laws of course. See this page

From Anthony Rae

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Yesterday I received reminder emails from both the National Trust and 38 Degrees, advising that they will be handing in their petitions - at present signed by 163,000 and 109,000 people respectively - into Number 10 on Monday. So if you've not done this already now's the time to take action (or request friends and family to do the same). Just go to the Calderdale Friends of the Earth website for all the links you need.

On Tuesday I spoke to Calderdale's two MPs, Craig Whittaker and Linda Riordan, as part of the Parliamentary lobby organised by FOE and the National Trust, and then attended the event itself the next day. Craig said that he still wanted to receive some further information about the 'brownfield before greenfield' issue before he puts some questions to ministers (we will provide this); Linda expressed her strong opposition to the current 'National Planning Policy Framework' draft. Both were interested when I pointed out that there already were examples of a simplified NPPF prepared for Wales and Scotland which successfully avoided all the many problems caused by the savage truncation of the English planning guidance. Taking 1,000+ pages of existing guidance down to around 200 - which is what has happened in the former two cases - can be done; reducing it to just 58 means that so many aspects of sustainable local planning come under threat, but just creates a developers and lawyers charter.

You have to ask why these effective precedents have been ignored, and who will gain and who lose out in consequence?

So far we've had no substantive response to our campaign from Councillor Battye, or from Calderdale Council, as to whether they are are going to express their opposition by Monday's consultation deadline - which is disappointing.

The campaign doesn't end then. Instead we will need to generate increasing pressure throughout the Autumn so that backbench MPs convince ministers that they will have to change this exceptionally important but at present utterly flawed framework.


See also

HebWeb News - Friends of the Earth launches campaign to protect
'Calderdale's green fields ? in peril!' (Sept 2011)